Special Report: The Truth About Bears

You love them. You fear them. And you misunderstand them. See more bears and learn about the surprising new thinking around hiker safety in this complete guide. By Ted Alvarez

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Oso. Xiong. Bruin. Bjorn. Bear. From Cro-Magnons to Colbert, humans of all cultures have been obsessed with bears since we started competing for cave space. Backpackers know why better than most: As both slideshow highlights and boogeymen, bears remain the most potent reminder of our primal connection to the wild—and our place in it. Over the years, we’ve alternately feared, worshiped, or exterminated them. But new, myth-busting science allows us to know them better—and stay safer—than ever before. This is the story of how bears are coming back, and why that’s good news for us, too.

Part 1: The Mystery – Their Resurgence

Part 2: The Maps – Where to Find Bears

Part 3: The Skills – How to Prevent an Attack

Myths About Bears