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Do You Have to Worry About Bears in Zion?

Last Update on January 15, 2024
by Sunny Samaroo
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When planning a trip to Zion National Park, a common question among visitors is: Do you have to worry about bears in Zion? Though a bear encounter isn't an impossible event, it's so unlikely that you really don't have to worry about it. Still, it's a valid concern for anyone venturing into the great outdoors, especially in areas known for wildlife. 

In this blog post, we'll address this question and provide you with some peace of mind as you prepare for your adventure, perhaps on a tour like the Bryce, Zion, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley 3-Day Tour offered by MaxTour.

Zion National Park is the most popular of Utah's five national parks.

Bears in Zion National Park

While black bears do exist in Zion National Park, they are rarely ever seen or encountered. 

The park's desert environment, characterized by low elevations and hot, dry conditions, is not the ideal habitat for bears. Bears tend to prefer forested areas with a more abundant food supply. 

So, when bears are seen in Zion, it's usually in the high-elevation forested parts of the park, though it's still extremely uncommon. Because bears are so rare, the park encourages visitors to tell a park ranger if they see one.

Wildlife in Zion National Park

While bears are not a significant concern in Zion, the park is home to a variety of other wildlife. Here are common (and uncommon) animals you may see while at Zion.

Keep in mind that, as with any national park, it's important to respect wildlife by observing from a distance and not feeding or attempting to interact with the animals.

Mammals in Zion

Zion National Park is home to plenty of mammals, big and small. Bighorn sheep are some of the most popular mammals, as well as ones you're likely to see. Mule deer are high up on the list, too.

Keep your eyes peeled for the smaller critters, too, like rock squirrels. You'll see them scurrying across rocks and up trees! At night, you might hear a coyote or see a cute ringtail cat.

Mountain lions can be found in Zion but they are extremely rare, just like bears. There have been very few sightings and there has never been an attack. Let a park ranger know if you see one!

Birds in Zion

Zion is home to more than 200 bird species. The majestic California condor is perhaps the most iconic one. The rare and threatened Mexican spotted owl also calls Zion home.

Some birds are only seasonal inhabitants of the park, like the peregrine falcon that visits to mate in spring and the white-throated sparrow that spends the winter in the mild climate of the park.

Reptiles in Zion

Lizards and snakes call Zion home, too, especially in the desert areas of the park. The desert tortoise can also be found in Zion, though it's quite rare.

The plateau lizard, though small, is the reptile you're most likely to see. You can recognize it by the blue patches on its belly. You're less likely to encounter snakes in Zion since they're mostly nocturnal but, if you do encounter one, just be sure to give it its space.

Mule deer are some of the most commonly seen animals in Zion National Park.

Safety Tips for Wildlife Encounters

Even though bear encounters are unlikely in Zion, general wildlife safety practices are still essential, not just for respecting the wildlife, but also for your own safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep Your Distance: Always observe wildlife from a safe distance. Never approach or attempt to feed animals.
  • Store Food Properly: Store food and scented items securely, especially when camping. This helps in not attracting any wildlife to your campsite.
  • Stay on Trails: For your safety and the protection of the park's ecosystem, stick to designated trails.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially when hiking in more remote areas of the park.
  • Leave No Trace: Though you're just passing through Zion, the park is a home for plenty of animals. Be sure to dispose of your trash properly.

Enjoying Zion's Natural Beauty

Zion National Park is renowned for its stunning landscapes, from towering cliffs to deep canyons. The Virgin River, which carves through the canyon, provides a lush, green contrast to the red rock walls, creating a picturesque setting for your outdoor activities.

The park offers a range of hiking trails, from easy walks to challenging backcountry adventures. You can venture to popular spots like Angel's Landing and Emerald Pools, or seek out lesser-travelled areas like Pine Creek Waterfall and Kolob Canyons.

Zion National Park is huge — there's so much to explore!

MaxTour's 3-Day Adventure

For those looking to explore Zion along with other iconic destinations in the Southwest, MaxTour's 3-Day tour is an excellent option. 

This tour takes the hassle out of planning and offers a guided experience through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the United States, including Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley, along with Zion.

The tour provides ample time to explore Zion's main attractions, and the knowledgeable guides can offer insights into the best spots for hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing. It's a fantastic way to experience Zion's beauty without worrying about planning every detail of your trip.


While bears are present in Zion National Park, bear sightings are few and far between. Visitors shouldn't be overly concerned about bears in Zion. However, it's always wise to practice general wildlife safety and respect the park's natural environment. 

With its awe-inspiring scenery and abundant wildlife, Zion offers a unique and memorable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

And with tours like MaxTour's 3-Day adventure, you can enjoy a comprehensive and enriching visit to this magnificent park, along with other wonders of the American Southwest. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore Zion National Park!

Related Reading: Antelope Canyon vs. Zion National Park


Sunny Samaroo

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