Squamish hiker fights off aggressive black bear with a piece of lumber

Black bear standing in grass
The black bear swatted at the hiker despite her attempts to retreat (Image credit: Getty)

A woman has survived a bear attack while she was out hiking on Saturday night in the Squamish neighbourhood of Garibaldi Highlands.

The BC Conservation Officer Service said the incident occurred at around 7 p.m. in Coho Park, a rainforested area north of Squamish that is popular with hikers and bikers. The woman was crossing a trestle bridge on the Coho Trail when she came across the black bear. She tried to avoid it by jumping down to one side of the bridge, but the bear followed her and swatted her.

According to the BCCOS, the woman was able to find a piece of lumber to defend herself, before a passing cyclist jumped in to help her. At this point, the bear backed off but continued to follow the pair.

Black bear in shallow water

Bear attacks are rare, but they do happen and can lead to serious injuries or even death (Image credit: Getty)

The woman was not seriously hurt in the attack. Crews from BCCOS as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been searching for the bear since the attack, and the park remains closed as efforts to locate the bear continue.

Bear attacks are rare, but they do happen and can lead to serious injuries or even death.

There were 23 fatal black bear attacks in the US between 2000–2016 and there have been 180 fatal bear attacks in North America since 1784.

If you are hiking in bear country, always carry bear spray, a bear horn and stay bear aware. Should you encounter a bear, resist the urge to run, maintain eye contact and back away slowly. If a bear attacks, be prepared to fight back using stones, trekking poles and whatever else you have available.

Learn more about what to do if you meet a bear.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.