Whistler trails closed after hiker faces off with mountain lion

Portrait Of Mountain Lion By Plants
The lion exhibited stalking behavior toward the hiker (Image credit: Kevin Zaouali / EyeEm)

Nine hiking trails on the west side of Whistler have been temporarily closed after a hiker had a close call with a mountain lion.

According to a wildlife alert from the Municipality of Whistler, on September 30, the Conservation Officer Service received a report of a mountain lion approaching a hiker from behind on the Skywalk South Trail. The lion was crouching low and exhibiting stalking behavior common before they attack their prey.

The mountain lion reportedly came as close at 20 feet from the hiker, who was able to fend it off by throwing stones. The cougar was not initially phased, but eventually retreated.

The trail is part of a system of trails above the Alpine neighborhood which has now been closed for public safety for one month. Locals hiking on open trails in the area are encouraged to carry bear spray and know how to use it against a mountain lion.

A mountain lion on a rock

Mountain lion attacks on humans are very rare (Image credit: Kevin Schafer)

Mountain lion safety

Mountain lion attacks on humans are very rare, but it’s entirely possible you may meet a mountain lion during your outdoor adventures, and if you do, knowing what to do if you meet a mountain lion can go a way to helping prevent a memorable encounter becoming a mauling.

If you encounter a mountain lion on a hike, remember the following:

  • Back up slowly 
  • Make yourself appear big
  • Make noise
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Throw things
  • Fight back
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.