Watch an extremely close encounter between a bear and a hiker in California

Close encounter with a bear in the Sierra Madre Mountains
(Image credit: Victoria Pham)

An experienced hiker in California’s Sierra Madre Mountains captured a very close encounter with a bear on camera, and it’s difficult to work out who was more chill about the close shave.

But then, Victoria Pham did once work for Yosemite National Park’s search and rescue team, so she knows the best thing to do when coming almost literally face to face with a black bear.

Pham reveals the encounter on Instagram, where she details how she was hiking along the Mount Wilson Hiking Trail in Sierra Madre – which she does regularly – when she heard commotion ahead.

“I noticed these hikers were coming down kind of in a panic saying, ‘Oh my God! There’s an animal up there,’” Pham tells TV station KTLA-TV .

But Pham continued on her hike, and soon spotted something on the narrow path ahead.

“I noticed this black bear coming down, and it was very calm and chill, just trotting along down the trail, and I noticed there were hikers above as well,” she says. “So the bear was between me and the hikers.”

That’s when her training kicked in.

“There were actually a few people behind me, they weren’t in the video,” says Pham. “They were talking to me, like, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘I’m going to let it pass.’ They asked, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to let it pass. It’s the best thing to do right now.”

“Well, I can’t outrun the bear and I can’t really go either way off the trail, so I’m just going to let this bear pass,” was her reasoning.

And since she had her cellphone with her, she took advantage of the situation. “He looked at me, and I looked at him and I was like, ‘Cool man!’”

Pham certainly comes across as a cool customer.

It's widely reported that bear encounters are on the rise, with the animals following hikerstrashing campsites, and breaking into tents so it’s important to know what to do if you meet one.