How Fast Can a Bear Run?

Whether you’re heading out into the great outdoors for a hunting or camping trip, or you’re just curious, it’s always good to know just how fast a bear can run. We’re going to answer all the important questions about how quick bears are so that you can keep safe.

What Is the Quickest Bear?

huge male black bear in autumn

The quickest bear around is the black bear. These bears live in North America, so there is a chance that you might find yourself coming across one. And if you do, don’t try to race it, as black bears have been recorded running at a top speed of 35mph.

How Fast Can a Grizzly Bear Run?

The Brown Bear Ursus arctos running on the forest on Kamchatka

Grizzlies are also found in North America. Despite the biggest grizzlies weighing in at a whopping 790lbs, these brown bears can really get a good speed going when they’re on the run. They’ve been recorded running 30mph. Next time you’re cruising in your car at the speed limit, imagine a grizzly keeping pace next to you, and then you can imagine just how quickly they run.

Can a Human Outrun a Bear?

Side view portrait of a big brown bear in a forest

It depends on the bear, but, no, generally, humans are not able to outrun bears. Usain Bolt, who is widely recognized as the fastest human being on the planet, and possibly the quickest man to ever live, can only run 27mph when he’s at his peak speed. The average joe won’t get anywhere near that speed. So, even though the temptation might be to run when you come across a bear, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to leave it in your wake.

What Should You Do If You See a Grizzly Bear?

Wild young terrible and hungry Far Eastern brown bear (Kamchatka brown bear) walking on road and begs for human food from people in cars on highway.

You definitely shouldn’t run. As we’ve found out, grizzlies are quicker than you are, and they also don’t like it when you run. It agitates them. Just like looking them in their eyes will agitate them. So, avoid doing this too. The key, as hard as it might sound, is to stay calm. Start to walk away. Keep a slow pace. And just stroll away. It’s likely the grizzly will leave you alone. But, if the grizzly charges at you, then you’ve got to stay strong and show the bear that you’re not going to budge.

However, if you’ve got some pepper spray nearby, then now’s the time to use it. As soon as they get within 25ft of where you are, start spraying. If you’re unfortunate to get attacked by the grizzly, then you have to get yourself in the fetal position, curl up into as tight a ball as you can, and lie there. If you follow all this advice, then you’ll stay safe if you encounter any grizzlies during your trip to the great outdoors.


There you have it. Now you know just how fast the two most common bears in the USA are. The thing you need to remember is that they’re quicker than you. So, don’t run! Instead, stroll away, and you should stay safe.

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