A group of hikers in Banff National Park had a hair-raising 20 minutes on Tuesday, when two giant grizzly bears decided to starting following them down the trail.
A video of the nerve wracking experience, which you can watch below, shows the bears, who appear to be a mother and cub, stalking the group at a distance of 30 to 60 feet (10 to 20 meters) as they hike along a forested trail. The hikers appear to remain impressively calm though viewers can hear that guide Phoebe Nicholson, who is capturing the video, is understandably nervous about the giant intruders.
"Keep walking! Nice and slow," Nicholson can be heard as she urges the group to turn to face the bears and walk backwards.
"Knowledge-wise, I knew exactly what I should be doing, but it is different putting it into action," she recalls.
The group was hiking on the Consolation Lakes Trail in the Lake Louise area when one of the hikers noticed the bears were following them and alerted Nicholson. Despite the cub making a few small charges at the group – known as a "bluff charge" – the group managed to retain their composure.
"From my training, I know that that is a normal thing. The best thing to do is, of course, to stay calm and keep a slow, slow pace, so that's exactly what we did."
When they reached Consolation Lake, the bears went on their way, leaving the hikers to recover.
Banff National Park is home to some 65 grizzly bears. If you encounter a bear on the trail, it's important to back away slowly and avoid eye contact and it may be helpful to speak to the bear in a low, calm voice. Learn more in our article on what to do if you meet a bear and remember that all wildlife is best viewed from a distance, using binoculars.
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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.