Grizzly Bear Attacks Missouri Woman Hiking Alone in Yellowstone

A woman from Missouri was injured after an encounter with a female grizzly bear while hiking in Yellowstone National Park.

The 37-year-old woman had been hiking alone on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful on Monday when she came across two grizzly bears, the National Park Service said in a news release.

The woman attempted to use her bear spray, the park service said. But the female grizzly knocked the woman down and she sustained a scratch on her thigh.

When she fell, she also sustained minor injuries to her face. She later declined medical attention, according to the park service.

After Monday's incident, the Fairy Falls Trail was cleared of hikers. The trail and surrounding area was temporarily closed, the park service said.

Yellowstone
The hiking trail through whitebark pines where the woman was injured at Yellowstone National Park. Diane Renkin/National Park Service

Officials said trails in the area would be closed until the family of bears has time to move on and no action would be taken against the bear that attacked the woman.

"From the injured person's statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter," bear management biologist Kerry Gunther said. "Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area."

The park service said Monday's incident was the first case of a bear injuring a visitor to Yellowstone National Park this year.

The last time a bear injured a visitor was in June 2019. A black bear bit into a tent that was occupied and bruised a woman's thigh, according to the park service.

The National Park Service urged visitors to protect themselves and bears while hiking in bear country.

Hikers are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, carry bear spray and know how to use it, remain alert and make noise.

They are also urged to stay out of areas closed for bear management and avoid hiking at dawn, dusk or at night when grizzly bears are most active.

"Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space," park officials added.

People should stay 25 yards away from all large animals—bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes—and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.