Montana Grizzly Encounter: Best Place to Learn About Bears

Will Beck
Last Updated: March 4th, 2023

Founded in 2004, Montana Grizzly Encounter is a Grizzly Bear Rescue & Education Sanctuary. Currently, this mountain sanctuary provides a sizable home to 4 grizzlies (Bella, Sheena, Maggi, Max), as close to nature as possible.

Two of the four bears living here were rescued from inhumane captivity and had never gotten the chance to be in the wild. This means that the bears cannot make it on their own in the wild.

Bella and Max are the only wild-born rescues. They were orphaned in different parts of Alaska at a very young age.

Unfortunately, the most famous bear, Brutus, passed away in 2021. Brutus was the first bear to be sheltered at the sanctuary. He was rescued from unethical breeders and brought to the facility when only two weeks old. Sadly, Brutus died when he was 19 years old.

Fancy seeing grizzlies without risking your life? Montana Grizzly Encounter is where you should head. This sanctuary is a great place where visitors can watch grizzly bears up close and learn more about them.

The team here believes that taking an active role in the bears’ preservation is the only way for them to grow as a species.


The Facilities at Montana Grizzly Encounter

A quick stop along highway 90, Montana Grizzly Encounter, is worth visiting when traveling through SW Montana. This kid-friendly sanctuary is entirely safe. You won’t rub shoulders with the bears but can view them up-close.

Only four bears are available at Montana Grizzly Encounter. However, visitors can only see one bear at a time.

Bears don’t get along and can’t be grouped in the same enclosure. Each of the four bears has a den hidden from the public.

One of the den’s doors is opened at a time to let a bear roam into the viewing area. The bear can stay out as long as it likes. Another bear’s door will open when the current bear returns to its cage, allowing visitors to see different grizzlies.

You can always leave the sanctuary and return later to see if a different grizzly is on display. The guides are knowledgeable and will explain everything you need to know about the bears.

During this pandemic period, masks are mandatory when entering this sanctuary. Social distancing is almost inevitable, considering the vastness of the facility.

grizzly encounter

Opening Hours

Montana Grizzly Encounter is open all year round, from 9-10 am to 4-7 pm depending on the season.

  • In Spring (May 1st), MGE opens from 10 am to 6 pm daily
  • In Summer (June 1st), MGE opens at 9 am and closes as late as 7 pm daily
  • During Fall (September 1st), MGE opens between 10 am and 5 pm daily
  • During Winter (November 1st), MGE opens at 10 am and closes as early as 4 pm from Thursday through Sunday

Entrance Fees

  • All school groups and kids under 3 get in free of charge
  • Children between the ages of 4 and 12 pay $7
  • Adults between 13-64 pay $9
  • Seniors above 65 years pay $8

With your ticket, it’s possible to leave and come back later in the day without needing to pay more. Season passes and group bookings are available for anyone interested.

The best time to get to Montana Grizzly Encounter is between 10 am to 12 pm, when there’s less traffic.

Montana Grizzly Encounter Details

  • Telephone: (406) 586 8893
  • Website:
  • Address: 80 Bozeman Hill Rd. Bozeman, Montana 59715
  • Season: Year-round

Getting There

Starting at Bozeman, take E Main Street and merge onto I-90 E via the ramp to Billings. Take I-90 E for 15 miles, then exit at 319 towards Jackson Creek Road. Later, turn right onto Jackson Cr Rd, then left onto W Bozeman Hill Rd. You should see Montana Grizzly Encounter to your right.

The distance from Bozeman to Montana Grizzly Encounter is approximately 11.5 miles and should take about 15 minutes by car.


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About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with travel a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than hitting the road in his self-build campervan and visiting off-the-beaten-path places, away from popular tourist destinations.

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