It may seem like overkill for someone who is just passing through Yellowstone for the day to tour the geysers and get a bite at one of the historic lodges but according to a statement made on their socials, the park is now recommending guests carry bear spray even if you aren’t planning on going into the backcountry.
If you’re flying in, you’ll have to pick some up locally as its bear spray is banned for both carry-on and checked luggage by the TSA. Conveniently Yellowstone points out that “bear spray is sold at Yellowstone gift shops, outdoor stores, service stations, and bookstores inside the park, as well as in local communities.” The best selling bear spray on Amazon is $39.99, which is a non-trivial expense anyone who is just on a day trip. Here’s the what Yellowstone has to say:
“Do I need to carry bear spray even if I don’t plan to hike in Yellowstone’s backcountry?”
Short answer: Yes!
Wildlife, including bears, roam where they please. This means bears could venture through a parking lot, boardwalk, road, or trail, so it’s best to be prepared no matter where you are in the park.
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Hike in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails and boardwalks, and make noise.
Carry bear spray in a readily accessible location (not stored in your backpack), and make sure you know how to use it!
Maintain a distance of at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk.
Use binoculars, a telescope, or a telephoto lens to get a closer look.
Report bear sightings and encounters to a park ranger immediately!