In Glacier National Park (USA), there are 63 backcountry campgrounds. I looked at the backcountry campground website including the map and campsite information. Are there bear poles/boxes at backcountry sites? This forum post from 2008 states that All of the designated backcountry sites have bear poles or bear boxes. So its not necessary to bring a canister., but the park website states in its gear list to bring 25 feet of rope for hanging food and garbage.

That would seem to be in contradiction, because if the bear poles are anyway like the ones I saw in the semi-developed campgrounds at Jasper National Park (Canada) in 2014, then it means hikers would not need to bring rope for hanging food and garbage, as this is would be the bear poles.

Do some or all of the backcountry campgrounds in Glacier National Park (USA) have bear poles, bear boxes, or some other way with which hikers can store food safe from bears and other animals? Or must hikers still bring gear to hang food or bear canisters themselves?

  • Call the park ranger station and ask.
    – csk
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 18:29
  • @csk This is a valid question that will be of interest to others besides the OP. The OP has done research, and found contradictory answers. There is probably someone here who can answer from recent experience. Almost every question on this and any other site can be self answered with enough research, but then there would be only vacant sites.
    – ab2
    Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 19:45
  • What you seem to be missing is that the bear poles don't come with rope, you have to provide your own. Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 14:54
  • @LorenPechtel Really? That is crucially important information. In Jasper National Park all sites I've seen came with rope.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 14:58
  • @gerrit If the gear list says to bring rope that would mean there isn't rope there. Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


I was there last summer. All the back country campgrounds that I stayed at had bear "poles". They were usually 2 poles in the ground about 10 feet apart, with another pole connecting the two across the top. The string is used to tie your gear together, throw over the pole across the top, then hoist and tie off. I'll see if I can find a picture later.

An example of what they look like can be seen below:

enter image description here

Glacier National park

Edit: As a clarification, the reason the website for Glacier national park tells you to pack rope is because only the poles are provided.

  • Is the rope/string provided along with the bear pole or do the hikers still need to bring their own rope? When I was in Jasper National Park, the rope was always provided, but Loren Pechtel is saying in a comment that they aren't provided in Glacier National Park.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 14:59
  • @gerrit, only the poles are there. As the you noted in your question, the park tells you to pack 25 feet of rope.
    – Zillakon
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 17:06
  • Would you like to edit that into your answer?
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 19:56
  • 2
    A word of caution - the only time I've lost food to wildlife is using a similar system in the North Cascades, where there was a wire with hooks for food bags strung between two trees. The bears seemed to not bother, but the local mice knew there was a ever-changing smorgasbord presented to them every evening, only requiring them to run along the wire and down into the food bags. So, be sure your bag is truly tightly closed! (I still remember they loved peanut M&Ms - they bit the end off, throwing it away, and ate the peanut out of the the M&M leaving all the chocolate.)
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:34

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