Are There Mountain Lions In Colorado? Everything You Need To Know

Mountain Lions In Colorado

Mountain lions are agile and swift predators that are fond of vast isolated lands and rocky terrains. Colorado is quite literally their dream habitat. No wonder then that some of the highest populations of mountain lions are found in the beautiful state of Colorado.

Are There Mountain Lions In Colorado?

Yes, there are mountain lions in the state of Colorado. In fact, Colorado might have more mountain lions than any other state in the US. The Rocky Mountains and primitive countryside make for a good hideout for the shy animals. Colorado has both alpine forests and high deserts, both of which are great terrains for these big cats.

Colorado’s history with mountain lions is complicated. It’s thrilling to hear that it now has the largest population of mountain lions in the country. But in the past, mountain lions have died by the thousands at the hands of the people of Colorado. In fact, even now, human-lion conflict is pretty high in the state and more mountain lions die because of human activities every year.

How Many Mountain Lions Are In Colorado?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission says that about 3,000 and 7,000 mountain lions live in Colorado. They cannot pin down the exact number. The methods are too expensive, too time-consuming, and difficult. This estimate is based on a number of factors but the department has been honest enough to admit that 7,000 is an overestimation. Realistically, 3,500 to 4,500 mountain lions will be a much more accurate number.

Where In Colorado Do Mountain Lions Live?

Mountain Lions In Colorado

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department says that 57 percent of the state is suitable terrain for mountain lions. The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, which forms the state’s western border with Utah, is ideal mountain lion territory. The cracks and crevices of the mountains allow the lions to hide before ambushing their prey. Mountain lions also live towards the southeast of the state.

One of the reasons that there are conflicts between humans and mountain lions in Colorado is because of tourists. Skiers and hikers come up to the mountains that are so popular with the lions and this might lead to attacks. Another reason is the plentiful deer. In some areas of Colorado, deer can be found in people’s backyards. Mountain lions aren’t fussy about going after their prey. If they follow a herd into urban areas, it could lead to accidents and injuries for all parties involved.

Are Mountain Lions a Problem In Colorado?

Mountain lions can be a big problem in Colorado. Humans and mountain lions often come into close contact up in the mountains. There’ve been many stories of attacks. The most famous story is about a hiker who was injured by a young mountain lion in 2019. The man managed to defend himself and choke the animal to death.

Mountain lions do not actively go after humans. But if they come across a lone hiker, they might attack because they are feeling threatened. Skiers do not need to worry as much. A mountain lion most definitely will not venture onto the icy slopes to go after a human.

How Many Mountain Lion Attacks In Colorado?

Since 1990, there have been 25 confirmed attacks by mountain lions on humans. Only three of these resulted in human death. One of the most recent and bizarre attacks was a man who was attacked while sitting in a hot tub in March 2023. The man got away with scratches and scared away the cat by making a lot of noise.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.

Can You Hunt Mountain Lions In Colorado? 

Mountain Lions In Colorado

There are very strict laws about hunting mountain lions in Colorado. Mountain lions are classified as ‘big game’ in Colorado. While it’s legal to hunt them, there are many rules and regulations about it. 

Anyone wishing to hunt a mountain lion needs a specific permit. There’s a limit to the number of lions that can be hunted in one year. It is illegal to hunt a lioness with cubs or to kill a young lion that still has spots.

What To Do If You See a Mountain Lion In Colorado?

Mountain lions do not seek out humans. If you see one at all, the chances are it’s just as surprising to see you. The best thing to do is make lots of noise and wave your arms around to scare it away. 

If there are children with you, pick them up so they don’t become a target. Wild animals are wary of attacking something that is taller than them. You should always stand at full height. Do not turn your back or try to run from a mountain lion. They’re faster than you and might chase you. If a mountain lion does attack, fight back. Playing dead will not help you in this situation.

If you’ve heard the saying prevention is better than cure, this applies to mountain lions as well. Do not hike alone and be loud when you are walking. 

You can play music or talk loudly. Mountain lions tend to avoid noise and chaos so they’ll keep away from you. Do not wander away from the group or try going out at night. If you do come across a cub, stay away from them. The mother will be nearby and will attack if threatened. Listen to the locals and always be aware of your surroundings.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Connecticut


And that was everything about the Mountain Lion in Colorado. I hope this article answers your questions.

Scroll to Top