Guests waiting to use the ladies' room in a Montana hotel were in for a shock when it was discovered the patron occupying the restrooms was a black bear.

On Sunday, workers at the Buck's T-4 Lodge in Big Sky Montana, found that a bear had got into the restrooms on the ground floor via the window, looking for a place to hibernate.

It was discovered, asleep spread across the sinks.

Staff from the T4 lodge estimated it was quite a young animal – a "yearling" cub – and completely unfazed by the surroundings.

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However large and formidable the bear might have seemed, the lodge owner was shocked to discover a hairy critter hibernating in his hotel. Not without paying for board, anyway.

"We heard a bit of a racket in the lobby... Sure enough, the bear had found a window with enough of an opening to get into the ladies' room by the lobby," David O'Connor, the general manager of the hotel told CNN.

Sleeping: The young black bear was taking some time in the ladies' restrooms. Photo / Supplied
Sleeping: The young black bear was taking some time in the ladies' restrooms. Photo / Supplied

"The bear wasn't able to get himself back out as the window was too high, but he was real comfortable there. He just hung out on the counter where it was cool, and literally went to sleep," he said.

The episode was filmed by curious hotel guests, cautiously watching the hotel staff trying to deal with the bear and get it to leave the bathroom.

In a video by Ashley Franz, the staff can be seen erecting a barricade of tables and cautiously opening the bathroom door with a broom handle.

"I see a shadow!" one of them says.

When it was clear it wouldn't leave back through the window at first they hoped they could move him out through the hotel lobby.

Eventually the Lodge was forced to call the Gallatin Country Sheriff's office and rangers from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to help free the animal in a safe and humane manner.

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The rangers were able to tranquilise the young bear and take it for release back into the surrounding national park.

By this point the freeing of the bear had become a spectacle for the Lodge's guests, particularly younger ones, who asked the rangers what they would do with the bear.

The Lodge's proximity to the Yellowstone National park means that bear encounters are not uncommon. Many visitors come specifically to see the animals.

However at this time of year - towards the end of summer- encounters can become more frequent as the animals are looking for shelter ahead of winter.

Gallatin Country Sheriff and wildlife rangers were able to safely sedate the bear. Photo / Supplied
Gallatin Country Sheriff and wildlife rangers were able to safely sedate the bear. Photo / Supplied

In a statement for the Montana FWP office the rangers waned that this part of the state "is bear country with populations of grizzly and black bears" which are "increasingly active in the fall months seeking food before denning season."

Ahead of the incident at the lodge rangers had been receiving "numerous reports of bear activity across the region" and warned that bears that "become habituated are unnaturally comfortable around people and pose a risk to public safety."

"With the arrival of autumn, bears are increasingly active and searching for food sources" said the FWP office warning visitors to secure food and be "bear aware".

In the Yellowstone in particular, it was a reminder to visitors to close up windows and hide their "pic-a-nic baskets", in a caper that seemed straight out of Yogi Bear.