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4 Great Bear Grylls Moments in National Parks

One of Bear Grylls’s first big expeditions when he was a schoolboy was a camping and climbing adventure to Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park in Wales. The camping did not go according to plan when the tent collapsed in the middle of the night, leaving Bear and his school friend cold and miserable. However, the following day, they were able to climb to the top of Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales.

Bear has said that what he loves about climbing mountains isn’t adrenalin or personal achievement but sharing a bond with people that is difficult to find in normal life.

“It is part of what I learnt from a young age to love about the mountains: they are great levelers,” Bear later wrote in his autobiography Mud, Sweat, and Tears. “I love the fact that mountains make everyone’s clothes and hair go messy . . . they make you fight and struggle. They also induce people to loosen up, to belly laugh at silly things, and to be able to sit and be content staring at a sunset or a log fire. That sort of camaraderie creates wonderful bonds between people.” 

Since that early expedition, Bear has spent plenty of time in parks all around the world. Here are four great Bear Grylls moments he filmed in national parks. 

Yosemite National Park with Channing Tatum

Image by Sungjin Ahn Photography

Bear filmed an episode of Running Wild Season 1 with Channing Tatum in Yosemite National Park that was broadcast in August 2014. The pair arrived by helicopter, which they then jumped out of. During the two-day adventure, Bear and Channing hiked 40 miles through dense forest, also climbing up and rappelling down cliffs. Along the way, they encountered a rattlesnake and a scorpion, which they killed and ate. At the final destination point, they spent the night at the top of a cliff before rappelling down it.

Channing said before the episode that he was a big Bear Grylls fan and had been watching his shows for a long time. Channing loved the experience so much, he joined Bear again in 2019 for a Season 5 episode in Norway, where they had more survival adventures in the wilderness.

Kenai Fjords National Park with Obama

Image by Jaunes + Courtney Forte

In 2015, Bear filmed an episode of Running Wild with President Barack Obama in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. The episode was broadcast in Season 2 of the show, and Bear later said it was a moment of pride for him and his family.

During the show, Bear and President Obama ate the remains of some half-eaten salmon that had been previously caught by a grizzly bear on the banks of the river, and they made tea with some melted glacier water. They also discussed the effects of climate change and glacial erosion.

“We discussed global warming and the shocking extent to which glaciers are eroding, and the devastating effects that sea-level rising is having on poor coastal communities around the world,” wrote Bear in his autobiography Never Give Up.

The pair also spoke about how climate change was causing more famines, more extreme weather, and more extreme temperatures.

Arches National Park with Danny Treho

Image by Jan Zwilling

In Season 6 of Running Wild, Bear filmed an episode with actor Danny Treho in Arches National Park in Utah. During the adventure, the pair explored the red rocks of the Moab Desert, climbing boulders, rappelling down steep cliffs, and ziplining across a canyon.

In a moment of rest, the two swapped some life experiences and wisdom. Bear shared a moment of truth when he was climbing Everest—a moment in which he had to push past internal demons to get to his goal. Danny opened up about his time in prison and how he’s resolved to make a difference with his life since his release.

Jim Corbett National Park with Prime Minister Modi 

Image by Gallo Images

It was in Jim Corbett National Park in India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where Bear made a special episode of Man vs. Wild with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. The pair walked through a forest in tiger country and sniffed elephant dung. They also crossed a river in a small coracle made of reeds in rainy, cold weather. As they did, the pair discussed climate change.

Bear later said that even though all of the preparation and logistics for the episode were a challenge, making it was one of the high points of his working life.

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