Several areas in Waterton Lake National Park were closed following a bear attack on June 11, 2024. Credit: Parks Canada

Bear Injures Two Hikers in Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park

Officials with Parks Canada closed off several areas and trails in Waterton Lakes National Park after a bear injured two hikers.

Officials with Parks Canada closed off several areas and trails in Waterton Lakes National Park after a bear injured two hikers. According to a statement sent to Wide Open Spaces, the incident happened around 2 p.m. on June 11.

In the statement, a Parks Canada official explained that the two visitors encountered the bear as they scrambled up Ruby Ridge from Crandell Lake. The bear charged them, but the attack didn't last long as one of the hikers deployed bear spray and repelled the animal.

With the bear disengaged, the two hikers left the scene and managed to hike out of the area. An ambulance transported them to a local hospital, where they were listed as in stable condition.

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Following the attack, park officials say wildlife officers launched an investigation into the incident. They said the authorities had not yet located the bear nor had they identified its species.

Meanwhile, park officials closed off six areas because of the attack. They include all sections of the Crandell Lake Trail, the Lineham Trail, the Crandell Lake backcountry campground, the former Crandell Mountain campground area, the Canyon Church Camp, and the adjacent backcountry areas including Crandell Mountain and Ruby Ridge.

waterton lake national park

Parts of Waterton Lake National Park closed off following the June 11 bear attack. Credit: Parks Canada

Bear attacks in Waterton Lakes National Park

Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park shares a border with Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Together, they form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which is considered a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. With all that said, it's nearly 1,800 square miles of nature and is considered bear country.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, Glacier Park is home to approximately 600 black bears and 300 grizzly bears. While bears come and go through both parks as they please, researchers say Waterton only has about 67 bears and another 172 grizzlies near the park.

While it's unclear how many bear attacks happen in Waterton each year, the travel website OCanada! reports that Canada averages about 40 bear attacks per year. And the majority of those happen in British Columbia followed by Ontario and Alberta, which is home to Waterton Park.