Mountain Lion Safety
Mountain lions (Puma concolor) are also called cougars, pumas, panthers, painters, and catamounts. They roam throughout this area in both desert and mountain country, and are usually quiet and elusive. Although your chances of seeing one of these secretive animals is slight, they have been observed in and around Fruita in the campground, picnic areas, orchards and housing area. Typically, mountain lion sightings occur from a distance and usually around dawn or dusk. However, lions are unpredictable and can be dangerous.
Mountain lions are solitary animals, traveling alone except during mating season or when a female is supporting you. They can be seen at any time of the day or night, but are most active at dawn and dusk, corresponding with deer activity.
Mountain lions are carnivores (meat eaters) and prey mostly on deer. They also eat small animals like porcupines, rabbits, squirrels, marmots, and skunks.
The orchards in Fruita host a large deer population which in turn attracts mountain lions. Do not feed deer. Feeding deer encourages them to remain in close proximity to the campground. Avoid carcasses as lions will occasionally return to their kills to feed over several days. Do not leave pets outside at night.
The following guidelines will help to insure your safety:
If you encounter a lion, remember the goals are to convince it that you are not prey and that you may be dangerous. Follow these safety tips:
Please report all mountain lion sightings at the visitor center.
Did You Know?
Geologist G.K. Gilbert, a member of John Wesley Powell's scientific team, surveyed the Capitol Reef area in 1875. Gilbert mapped a fault line adjacent to Chimney Rock along Utah Highway 24, and a copy of his field sketch is incorporated into the park’s Junior Geologist program. More...