Yosemite National Park Camping Information

Cougars - Mountain Lions

Mountain lion sightings and encounters have increased throughout Yosemite over the past several years. The lions are an important part of the park ecosystem, helping to keep deer and other prey populations in check. Although lion attacks are rare, they are possible, as is injury from any wild animal. We offer the following recommendations to increase your safety:

Do not leave pets or pet food outside and unattended, especially at dawn and dusk. Pets can attract mountain lions into developed areas.

Avoid walking alone.

Watch children closely and never let them run ahead or lag behind on the trail.

Talk to children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.

Store food according to park regulations.

What should you do if you meet a mountain lion?

Never approach a mountain lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Always give them a way to escape. Don't run. Stay calm. Hold your ground, or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright. Do all you can to appear larger. Grab a stick. Raise your arms. If you have small children with you, pick them up. If the lion behaves aggressively, wave your arms, shout and throw objects at it. The goal is to convince it that you are not prey and may be dangerous yourself. If attacked, fight back!

Generally, mountain lions are calm, quiet, and elusive. The chance of being attacked by a mountain lion is quite low compared to may other natural hazards. There is, for example, a far greater risk of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a mountain lion.


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