Mountain Lions (Puma concolor)
Wildlife encounters can be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Keep the memory a happy one by following the guidelines below. Pictured above are two mountain lions, which are rare, but present, in the park.

NPS photo


Overlook Etiquette

There may be hikers or rock climbers below any overlook. Never throw anything from the rim into the canyon! Even a small stone can be fatal.

Supervise children closely. Weathered rock makes rim edges hazardous, and many places have no guardrails. Keep dogs on leash.

Take It Easy At Altitude

The canyon rim is 8,000 feet above sea level. Take precautions, drink plenty of water, and slow down. Symptoms of mild Acute Mountain Sickness (altitude sickness) include mild headaches, increased breathing, rapid pulse, nausea, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and general malaise. These are warning signs not to go any higher than you already are.

If symptoms advance to a lack of balance or coordination, slurring of words, altered mental state, extreme shortness of breathe, a wet or rasping cough, or blue skin, the person may be experiencing severe AMS and their life may be in jeopardy. Go down immediately and seek medical attention.

The easiest way to treat AMS is to prevent it. Remember these simple rules when travelling to altitude:

  • Spend at least one night at a moderate elevation before ascending
  • Climb as high as you like during the day, but never spend the night more than 1,000 feet higher than the night before
  • Remember that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Drink water often.
  • Never take a headache with you when ascending. Treat the headache before going any higher. If you can’t treat it, you’re already too high.

Encounters With Wildlife

Please view all wildlife from a distance. Never disrupt, approach, or attempt to feed any wildlife. Make noise (talking or clapping) while hiking to avoid surprising wildlife. Keep your backpack within arms reach at all times.

It is unlikely that you will see a black bear and even less likely a mountain lion. But it's a good idea to know how you should behave if you do:

  • Give bears or lions a way to escape. Most animals will try to avoid confrontation.
  • Give bears or lions with young extra space.
  • If you have a child with you, either pick them up or hold onto them.
  • Make eye contact with a lion, but don't with a bear.
  • Stay calm and speak firmly to the animal.
  • If the bear or lion doesn't run away, back away slowly and leave the area. Don't turn your back or run.

Black Bear Safety

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    Tags: bears safety

    Last updated: October 26, 2019

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    102 Elk Creek
    (GPS/physical address = 9800 Highway 347, Montrose, CO)

    Gunnison, CO 81230



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