September 16, 2022 2 min read

Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the Colorado wilderness. Whether you’re pitching a tent or exploring the trails, there’s always a chance of encountering local wildlife. One common Colorado creature to watch out for is the black bear.

Black bears are intelligent and curious animals. While they aren’t as naturally aggressive as other types of bears, they can cause a lot of damage to you and your property if you’re not careful. By staying smart and alert, you can help all of Colorado’s residents—human and animal alike—enjoy the wilderness in peace. Check out these top tips for staying safe around bears in Colorado.

Look for Tracks and Other Signs

Bears live throughout most of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, especially in mid- to low-altitude ranges. If you’re camping or hiking in the mountains, keep an eye out for signs that you’re in a bear’s territory. Shredded logs and claw marks on trees, bear tracks, and scat are all indicators that a bear lives nearby or has been in the area recently.

Stay Alert and Keep Your Companions Close

One of the biggest tips for staying safe around bears in Colorado is to simply remain aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are, where your companions are, and what else is in the area will prevent you from being surprised by a bear or other wildlife.

Don’t use headphones when you’re exploring a trail. Stay extra alert during low visibility conditions such as dawn or dusk. Similarly, be careful in noisy areas, such as around running water or during windy conditions.

It’s also a good idea to keep any trail companions within sight. If you have kids with you, make sure they’re close to an adult at all times. Keep dogs on a leash so they don’t sneak up on or aggravate any nearby bears.

Know the Basics of Bear Body Language

Most of the time, black bears won’t attack humans unless they feel threatened. Learning a little bit about bear body language can help you react appropriately if you do encounter a bear in the wild.

If a bear stands upright when it sees you, it’s trying to get a better sense of what you are. Stay calm and talk in a normal voice. You can also wave your arms slowly overhead to make your presence clear to help the bear identify you.

If the bear still doesn’t move, or if it huffs, pops its jaw, or stomps, it wants you to give it space. Back away slowly—downhill if you can—without looking away from the bear.

Sometimes, a bear will approach out of aggression, curiosity, or a desire for food. Don’t offer any food. Instead, stand your ground and yell or throw small rocks toward—but not at—the bear to scare it away.

With these smart tips, you can stay safe and enjoy your time in Colorado. Curious to learn more about all the Centennial State has to offer? Swing by YoColorado, your friendly Colorado clothing company and expert on all things Colorado, to stock up on gear and plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Brad Miller
Brad Miller



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