Wildlife Safety

How To Aspen Guides

Wildlife Safety

Bears, deer, elk, foxes, coyotes, moose, mountain lions and more live in the Aspen area. Keep your distance and your dogs leashed while these wild animals roam their home. 

  • Never approach wildlife. 
  • Keep your distance. 
  • Do not feed wildlife. 
  • Keep your dogs on leash. 


  • Bears are real wild animals with real teeth, sharp claws, and incredible strength. As adorable and cuddly as they might appear to be, they can be dangerous. 
  • Aspen has black bears. There are no grizzlies in this neck of the woods. 
  • Keep your distance. Bears are dangerous. If you find yourself near a bear, especially between a mother and her cubs, back away slowly, shout in a deep voice, and try to make yourself appear large. 
  • Never turn your back on a bear. 
  • Bears often come into downtown Aspen looking for sustenance, particularly during drought years when their food supply in the mountains is scarce, and in September and October before hibernation.
  • Keep your pup on a leash. Bears don't like to play with dogs. 
  • Never intentionally feed a bear! A fed bear is a dead bear. Once bears find an easily accessible food source, they don't forget, and they'll come back for more. Deter food-driven bear activity by: 
    • Do not leave food in your car – bears are known to break windows to get to food. Believe it or not, they also know how to open car doors. While Aspen is not known for theft, it’s a good idea to lock your car doors to prevent bear damage. 
    • Lock your trash. Make sure that trash receptacles are latched, secure, and bear-resistant - it's the law in Aspen and failure to comply can result in fines up to $1,000. 
    • Remove attractants by taking down bird feeders, cleaning grills, keeping pet food indoors, clearing fruit from trees and the ground, and locking home doors and windows so bears don't get inside. It happens!


  • Bears don't want their pictures taken. 
  • Please don’t take selfies with bears, or ever chase bears to get a photo or video. Social media stardom might be great for humans, but crowds that gather after a bear posting on Instagram put the animals into a state of distress, and they may then act aggressively towards humans. Trust us, this never works out well for the bear. Your bear post might mean the end of the bear’s life.

For more information on how to be bear-aware, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife and the Aspen Police Department


  • We are seeing an increase to the moose population. If you find yourself in the vicinity of a moose, back away slowly and treat it with respect. Moose do not fear humans as much as most other wild animals, do not let this fool you.  
    • Moose view dogs as coyotes, which are a threat, and they will attack, which is why you should always keep your dog on a leash in common moose territory (which does include Smuggler Mountain Road).
    • Never walk between a cow and a calf. 
    • Never approach a moose, walk the other direction and take the long way around. 
    • A moose may display warning signs before they become aggressive such as raising the hair on their neck, laid back ears, and licking of the snout. (More information from CPW here
    • If a moose feels threatened they will attack, they will often bluff charge first, but if they do make contact they will kick with their hooves and trample you. 
    • If a moose displays aggressive behavior or begins to charge, run as fast as you can and try to put a large object, such as a boulder, car, or tree, between you. 


  • In addition, we also have a healthy mountain lion population. 
    • In the unlikely event you are confronted by a mountain lion – fight back! Cats don’t like to be challenged. 


When in doubt: listen to your better nature and check out WildLives a joint initiative between Pitkin County & Colorado Parks & Wildlife.


Keep Wildlife Wild

Learn more at Colorado.com/wildlife

Wildlife Safety Tips
Wildlife Encounters