Yosemite Bears

Yosemite Black Bear Mother And Her Cubs. From Furry Friends Of Yosemite.

This Yosemite Bears page and the mountain lion, mule deer and coyote pages on this site are borrowed from "Furry Friends Of Yosemite" a fun and informational activity book for your family.

The Furry Friends Book is available from us by clicking here, or as a Kindle EBook from Amazon.

Did You Know?

The black bear, is not always black in color. Just as people have hair of different colors, so does Yosemite's bear. They are most often brown, but many are actually black. Some are the color of straw and are then referred to as "cinnamon". This bear is a species that is widespread throughout the Sierra.

He Is The Biggest

Now that the Grizzly is gone, they are the largest fur-bearing mammal amongst the animals of Yosemite. They usually weigh between 200 and 300 pounds, but some have been known to weigh as much as 500 pounds!

Shuffling Around

Usually traveling with a clumsy, plodding walk, when alarmed or angry they are surprisingly fast. Their tracks are easily recognized and are very distinctive in appearance. Unlike the mule deer, coyote or mountain lion, the front paws leave different tracks from their back ones.

Amazing Tree Climbers

Yosemite's black bear is a good climbers and often scramble up a nearby tree when they are frightened. Instead of coming down head-first, they always back down. Their hearing and sense of smell are good, but their eyesight is poor.

Yosemite Bear cubs climbing tree. Pen and ink drawing. Copyright Awani Press. From Animal Friends of the Sierra.

He Has No Enemies

These are BIG animals...so big that they have no natural enemies; of course they learn to avoid skunks and porcupines. Once in a while a young cub who doesn't know better gets a nose full of porcupine quills. It is a tough and painful lesson for him, but is one he will never forget!

He Is Always Hungry

They are omnivorous, which means that they eat almost anything, and they seem to always be hungry. They eat many kinds of plants and animals but seldom kill for themselves. Most of the meat they eat is found, having been killed by other Yosemite wildlife. Sometimes one will develop a taste for livestock but fortunately this happens very rarely.

Watch For The "BEAR Signs"

Animals have their own highways, and the forest floor is covered with paths made by different creatures as they carry on their daily lives. You may have trouble finding a mouse trail but a bear trail is hard to miss. In many places the shuffling of their feet has actually worn a path deep into the ground.

Yosemite Bears Don't Really Hibernate

Many people think that winter brings hibernation, and that the Yosemite bears sleep soundly all winter long. They don’t really.

They will have a long sleep in winter, (at least up in the cold of the higher mountains), but may be awakened easily and sometimes even come out to hunt for food. It is during the mothers long winter sleep that her young are born. She usually has two cubs although as few as one or as many as three are not uncommon.

Black Bear Cubs In Yosemite

The little ones stay safe within the den until they are about three months old. When the cubs are ready to leave, the mother watches them very carefully. At the first sign of danger she will give a barking grunt and will often chase them up the nearest tree for safety. She is strict and the cubs soon learn that they must mind or they will be spanked.     

Cubs stay with their mother for the first year while she teaches them the things that they need to know. They are always best left alone and viewed from a distance, but when a mother has cubs she is especially dangerous. Since all animals are protected in our national parks, many have lost their natural fear of man. But like the mule deer they should be treated as the wild animals that they are.

Yosemite Bear Cubs Playing

Yosemite Mothers And Their Babies

Bill Berry was one of the premier wildlife artists of his time. His use of the pen and ink medium captured his subjects with a life-like realism rarely seen today.

This beautiful set of high quality prints, capture four of the larger mammals of the Sierra. Three of these, the Mountain Coyote, Mule Deer and Black Bear are quite commonly seen. The fourth, the Mountain Lion, almost never.

Each print is 11 x 14 in size and printed on heavy stock. Beautiful framed!

Place your cursor over the image below and then follow the link to get your set today! (Perfect for babies room).

Click here to get your Yosemite Animal Prints Today!


“Yosemite Bears were a part of our day-to-day lives. If some mischief had been done, they were always the first suspect and most likely culprit... followed closely by the raccoons who were also trouble-makers.

One wintry evening, my family had just sat down at the dinner table looking forward to enjoying what Dad had just taken off of the barbecue, when we heard a terrible crash!

Mom was up quickly and was already in the kitchen; headed toward the darkened back porch to investigate. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she was just able to see the snow falling outside as she looked out through the glass in the thick back door. Something looked different, and there was something blocking her view!

As she gradually became more aware of what was outside, she was able to make out a big black mass...then two beady black eyes...then a huge furry head.

Yosemite Bear through the glass. DH Hubbard collection.

He had knocked the barbecue down and was now standing opposite Mom. His nose was pressed against the outside of the  frosted glass in the door and he was peering back through at her!

To this day we are not sure which of them was most startled!

The tracks that he left in the snow after he was finished with his snack were impressive, and the biggest that we saw in our 15 years of living in Yosemite. In our family he remains 'the Bear that came to dinner'!"<Br><Br<Br>

To return to the Home Page from Yosemite Bears please click here.

Share this page:
Please Link To Us, And Help Others Discover Yosemite!

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Learn About Some Other Furry Friends 

Bill Berry's Animal Prints Return

Click For Details

Yosemite Animals Activity Book...Meet The "Furry Friends"

Meet the mammals of Yosemite!

The Furry Friends Activity Book

Yosemite's Mule Deer

Mule Deer Doe and Fawn from Furry Friends of  Yosemite

Yosemite's Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

Yosemite's Mountain Coyote

Mountain Coyote Mother and Pups from Furry Friends of Yosemite

Yosemite's Beautiful Mountain Coyote

Yosemite's Mountain Lion

Yosemite's Mountain Lion from Furry Friends of Yosemite

Yosemite's Mountain Lion