Since 1979, Yellowstone has hosted over 118 million visits. During this time, 44 people were injured by grizzly bears in the park. For all park visitors combined, the chances of being injured by a grizzly bear are approximately 1 in 2.7 million visits. The risk is significantly lower for people who don't leave developed areas or roadsides, and higher for anyone hiking in the backcountry.
Type of Recreational Activity: Risk of Grizzly Bear Attack
Remain in developed areas, roadsides, and boardwalks: 1 in 59.5 million visits
If you plan to hike, learn about the best practices for exploring bear country.
Grizzly bear-inflicted injuries to humans in developed areas averaged approximately one per year during the 1930s through the 1950s, and four per year during the 1960s. Grizzly bear-caused human injuries in developed areas then decreased to one injury every two years (0.5/year) during the 1970s. Since 1980, there have been only two (0.1/year) grizzly bear-caused human injuries in developed areas, an average of approximately one every 20 years. Over the same time span, there have been 34 human injuries caused by grizzly bears in the backcountry: an average of one per year.
Since Yellowstone was established in 1872, eight people have been killed by bears in the park. More people in the park have died from drowning (125 incidents) and burns (after falling into hot springs, 23 incidents) than have been killed by bears. To put it in perspective, the probability of being killed by a bear in the park (8 incidents) is only slightly higher than the probability of being killed by a falling tree (7 incidents), in an avalanche (6 incidents), or being struck and killed by lightning (5 incidents). Here is summary of each fatality:
Last updated: November 29, 2022