GREAT FALLS — Glacier National Park has temporarily closed access to the Granite Park area due to unusual grizzly bear activity, according to press release from park officials.
The Highline, Loop, and Swiftcurrent Trail (from Swiftcurrent Pass to Granite Park Chalet) are all closed as of Sunday evening, meaning that access to the Granite Park area is not possible.
On Monday morning, park staff will hike to the area to observe bear behavior and conduct hazing activities as appropriate.
The Granite Park backcountry campground will be closed to campers arriving Monday.
The park expects that the trails will be closed at minimum until park staff can evaluate the area on Monday, and may be closed an indeterminate period of time afterwards, depending on their findings.
Park staff who live in the Granite Park area have been monitoring grizzly bears frequenting the area and on Sunday received several first-hand visitor reports of encounters with a bear or bears along the trail within the general area of the campground and the chalet.
The bear or bears exhibited behavior consistent with being disturbed and frustrated by human presence, according to park officials. Bears can respond aggressively in defense of themselves, a food source, or cubs.
“We appreciate the public’s patience while we evaluate this situation,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “The park has a proactive bear management program, and we take reports of aggressive bear behavior very seriously.”
People can monitor trail status by visiting the park’s Trail Status [nps.gov] webpage.
Guests planning to hike to Granite Park Chalet with reservations for tomorrow night should call the Granite Park Chalet Office at 888-345-2649 for more information and updates. The park does not expect that any trail status updates will be available before Monday afternoon.
People currently in the Granite Park region departing Monday morning will be permitted to hike out the Loop or Swiftcurrent Pass Trails, but not the Highline Trail.