Yosemite Winters; Where Do the Bears Go?

Yosemite Black Bear and her Cubs by John P. DeGrazio

There have been some questions on a few of our recent Yosemite Adventure Hikes about the wildlife and what they do in winter. As we walked along the Inspiration Point trail, we noticed some fresh black bear scat along the uncovered trail. Typically that trail would be buried under at least a few inches of snow in late January, but we are surviving through one of the driest winters on record here in the Sierra Nevada. That brought up the question about bears and if they hibernate.

Peek A Boo Bear Cub in Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio

There was a very good article in today’s SF Gate online “Sierra’s bears wide-awake during warm winter”. The article discussed how bears are not true hibernators, and will actually forage for food in the warm and dry conditions that we are experiencing this January. Here are a few photos of a mother bear and her two cubs that I took way back in 2008 while they were foraging in late spring. Although they have reported more bear activity in Lake Tahoe, there have not been many bear encounters in Yosemite. Please remember never to approach or feed a wild bear no matter how desperate they may appear.

Yosemite Black Bear Cubs on a Log by John P. DeGrazio