Everything you need to know about grizzly bear watching

Grizzly bears are a subspecies of brown bear, living in western North America and Canada in a variety of landscapes, such as boreal forests, alpine forests and meadows. With similar colourings, grizzlies are distinguishable from black bear by the distinctive hump on their shoulders. Males have been reportedly weighed at 680 kilos, although they are usually between 180 and 360 kilos and females can be half the size.

Despite their magnificent size, grizzlies are good runners, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. They hibernate for the winter in a large den; they will dig themselves in sheltered ground to build up their fat reserves on which they will live through the long cold forthcoming months. Pregnant females will enter their den alone, eventually emerging with cubs (usually twins), feeding them underground on their reserves – losing about 40 per cent of their body weight as they do so.

These omnivorous ‘top of the food chain’ predators can easily take down a moose or elk for a large supper, but their main diet consists of nuts, leaves, berries and roots.

Expert view: Will Bolsover

Nothing prepares you for the guttural roars of grizzlies fighting over the best fishing spot in Katmai National Park, or the peace and tranquility of lone individuals chest deep in salmon pools in Bella Coola Valley biding their time.

Watching these furry friends up close and personal is a truly unique experience. 

the grizzly bear

Grizzly bears are a subspecies of brown bear, living in western North America and Canada in a variety of landscapes, such as boreal forests, alpine forests and meadows. With similar colourings, grizzlies are distinguishable from black bear by the distinctive hump on their shoulders. Males have been reportedly weighed at 680 kilos, although they are usually between 180 and 360 kilos and females can be half the size.


Despite their magnificent size, grizzlies are good runners, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. They hibernate for the winter in a large den; they will dig themselves in sheltered ground to build up their fat reserves on which they will live through the long cold forthcoming months. Pregnant females will enter their den alone, eventually emerging with cubs (usually twins), feeding them underground on their reserves – losing about 40 per cent of their body weight as they do so.


These omnivorous ‘top of the food chain’ predators can easily take down a moose or elk for a large supper, but their main diet consists of nuts, leaves, berries and roots.

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Want to know more about tracking bears in the wild?

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