Watch mountain lion swim across a Colorado river

Mountain lion
According to National Geographic, mountain lions can swim nearly a mile (Image credit: Getty)

A mountain lion has been caught on tape swimming across a river in Colorado, proving that not all cats hate water. The rare sighting took place on the Eagle River in Gypsum, a town about 35 miles west of Vail.

The video was captured by Vail 4x4 Tours, a company that offers backcountry Jeep tours in the area. The video, which you can view below, shows the mountain lion swimming across the fast-moving river before climbing up the steep embankment on the other side and passing some parked vehicles before disappearing into the brush.

According to National Geographic, mountain lions can swim nearly a mile, while officials from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife told the Vail Daily that river corridors are often high-traffic areas for mountain lions that may be following deer and other food sources.

Though there are an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 mountain lions – also known as cougars, pumas, panthers, and catamounts – living in the country, mountain lion sightings are very unusual. Wildlife officials urge you to report all sightings and encounters to help them learn more about the animals’ behavior and movements.

Attacks on humans are very rare, but it’s possible you may meet a mountain lion during your outdoor adventures. If you’re hiking in mountain lion country, it’s a good idea to make noise on the trail to alert any cats further up the trail to your presence. If you do come face-to face with a mountain lion, resist the urge to run which may trigger its instinct to chase. Stay facing the animal and back away slowly. Maintain eye contact and don’t be afraid to throw rocks or trekking poles to scare the mountain lion away.

Read more on what to do if you meet a mountain lion on the trail.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for 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.