View Full Version : Bear Baging On the CT???

04-27-2009, 18:27
Hey guys,

My roommate and I will be starting our thru hike on June 24th, and I was wondering what everyone's opinions were on bear precautions on the CT. Do you hang your food, sleep with it?

Thanks in advance, hope to see you on the trail this summer.

04-27-2009, 18:29
sleep with it

04-27-2009, 18:53
I will have to say different I hang my food and anything that smells. Toothpaste.chapstick,deo anything. Not taking a chance.

04-27-2009, 18:55
I have not found bears to be an issue in Colorado.

04-27-2009, 18:57
I have not either because I hang my food. But I also sleep with earplugs so I dont know if they are near or not.

04-27-2009, 19:38
I have not either because I hang my food. But I also sleep with earplugs so I dont know if they are near or not.

I don't hang my food or find bears to be a problem in CO.

Make of that what you will...

04-28-2009, 12:37
I would have to agree with Mags. When I hiked the CT in 2000, most of the places that I chose to camp were above or at tree line, which prevented me from hanging. In places where I was below tree line, I did hang. But, I dont think it was really needed. I didnt see any bears, or any sign of bears the entire trip.

However, you should always use precaution. If you see signs of, or hear of, bear activity in the area you will be camping, most definitely hang food. Be prepared to hang food. I found that Marmouts were a bigger hassle to deal with. They are like oversized shelter mice. They will haul off anything they can get a hold of.

04-28-2009, 12:48
Has any one heard about mountain lions on the trail? I fish at decker quite a bit and last year there was a mountain lion warning sign buy the river and it just said that a mountain lion had been spotted and reported in the area. I also saw a Very large mountain lion track in deer creek canyon this past fall. Although that is quite a ways from the CT. Deckers is not.

04-28-2009, 19:34
Park requires bear-proof canisters for campers
The Associated Press
POSTED: 04/28/2009 11:48:30 AM MDT
UPDATED: 04/28/2009 02:50:30 PM MDT

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo.—People camping overnight in Rocky Mountain National Park's backcountry will have to carry bear-proof food canisters starting Friday.
Park officials say increasing numbers of bears have been getting into people's food, resulting in conflicts between the animals and people. Two men were seriously injured in 2003 by a bear that park rangers believe was used to rummaging through campers' food.

The men had stored their food correctly.

Food canisters have been required at some backcountry camp sites because of bears. Park officials say some campers don't hang their food from trees to keep bears out of it. Sometimes there are no trees nearby.

Campers will have to show they have a food canister when they get their backcountry camping permit.


04-28-2009, 19:41
Yeah, I was just going to say that the only places I've seen aggressive bear behavior in CO are in Jellystone (Rocky Mt Nat'l) Park. But that doesn't apply because, somewhat thankfully, the CT doesn't go there.

04-28-2009, 20:01
Add another reason to NOT backpack in RMNP. With so many awesome places to backpack, I rarely go there because of the bureaucracy.

Long live the nanny state! :p

04-28-2009, 20:39
I hung my food bag the first few days, but after four or five days of absolutely NO bear sing, I started draping it over a branch within sight of my tent.

When rain started falling every night during my final two weeks on trail, and I needed to close up my vestibule, I started leaving it in the vestibule of my tent.

No tracks, rubs, scat, NOTHING to indicate bears the entire 483 miles.

04-30-2009, 12:13
Thanks alot guys. As of right now, I'm willing to just sleep with the food, but my roommate wants to either hang or just leave it laying outside the tent under a tarp.

I'd never heard of those Marmots before, and the idea of a few of those carrying off 5 days of food is not appetizing. Then again, a hungry black bear trying to get in our tent isn't either.

We'll figure it out though, I think may be able to talk him into sleeping with it. We got plenty of time. Has anyone even seen a bear on the trail? Ever??

04-30-2009, 12:47
Has anyone even seen a bear on the trail? Ever??

I have not seen a black bear on the CT (or CDT for that matter in Colorado).

I have seen black bears off these trails, though. Once in the Eagles Nest Wilderness (not far from the Wolf CDT route) and less than half a mile from the trailhead in the Boulder OSMP!

05-01-2009, 14:58
I have found that "bear bagging" is always a good practice. I did see bear scat and tree scratch along the CT a couple of years ago in September just north of Mt Elbert. I have also noted that some little mice have located a few well used campsites near a lake in that same vicinity. I always sleep easier knowing that I did what I could to protect my food.

05-03-2009, 22:13
I was just going to look for this info. My husband and I are doing a section hike (our first on the CT) in mid-June and were wondering about the bear and food issue. We're hiking Silverton to Durango. We'll definitely bring what we'd need to hang our food, but will probably do the eat dinner before hiking on to a campsite thing and then sleep with it, unless it feels "bearish" (or we see one) in an area.

06-25-2009, 14:44
I did a 2 day hike in RMNP last spring and while I was getting my permit, the ranger told me to hang my food.

I asked him was the bear problem bad and he said yes. I then asked him how many bear they thought were in the park and he said two. TWO!!!

I choked back a chuckle and told him I had just done a hike the previous fall back east (SNP) where I saw 9 in one day.

He insisted they were aggressive so I did hang my food but I never even saw evidence of bears there until the last night when I was camping with friends in an established campground. A bear walked right through the middle and paid no mind to all the people around.

There was, however, a menacing snow hare that chewed through one of my guy lines of my hammock at 5am. I cursed him then but now I laugh when I think about it.

IF I go through RMNP again, I'll have the required bear canister when I get my permit but ditch it around the first turn (retrieve later of course.)

06-25-2009, 20:12
I just did two weeks on the first part of the CT, from Littleton to Leadville, and never hung an actual bear line, with no problems whatsoever. I did however hang my food bag on a low hanging branch just to get it off the ground. There's quite a few little critters along the trail, and I'd rather not have a hole chewed in my tent or a bag dragged out from under my vestibule.

06-25-2009, 21:40
I have not seen a black bear on the CT (or CDT for that matter in Colorado).

I have a very memorable and interesting bear story from the CDT in CO.
Actually it was coming down off the CDT after The "Window" heading north (west).
My friend and I were coming down off the mountain after hiking the Wiminuche and heading towards Vellicito Lake.
I was rushing I guess and there was a big waist high log on the trail. I ran and used the log for support for one foot and jumped over it with the other.
Unfortunately, there was a HUGE black bear (brown color) sleeping on the other side and my adrenalin kicked in fast. I didn't really land on him but did touch him with my foot and yes, he was mad!
He got up quickly and ran about 2 steps and then thought better of it and turned around and took a step towards me (i was running by now)
He believe he would have attacked me except my friend behind me came on the scene and saw this and yelled "Yo Bear!" real loud and scared him away.

It was the closest bear encounter i've had. (although i've had some other close calls but not in CO)
But it still didn't keep me from sleeping with my food.
I figure he was an old and cantankerous male and was upset that i disturbed his sleep.

I also saw 2 big old brown bears (theoretically black bears) in northern CO and they didn't seem afraid of us. I was with another hiker at the time and we just waited. But it took about 15-20 minutes before they finally moved off the trail.
Maybe it's because i'm often one of the first out there in the spring and they are not used to seeing people at this time of year???

04-25-2010, 14:29
I figured I'd come back and update now that we've finished the trail (a little late i know). Our game-plan was to sleep with our food, and after the first day of hiking, we set up camp around bear creek (!) about 8 miles from waterton canyon.

There we were, relaxing and minding our own business, when another thru hiker we had just met (Mooseman), points over my shoulder and says, "There's a bear right there. Im not even joking there's a bear right behind you. I know you guys think im lying but there is actually a bear coming at us". Sure enough, as i get off of my log, there is a 400 lb cinnamon black bear 20 ft away walking straight into camp like he's about to set up a tent :eek:. The three of us just stand and watch as this beast walks right at us and then we decide that it would be prudent to back away slowly. Long story short, we left all of our gear, food, and boots at the site as we watched from a distance this bear smell everything that we owned.

At this point, I thought to myself that it would be a good idea to try and scare him away from our stuff (horrible idea, and all the more reason people should research bears before starting a hike). I threw a from the other side of a little gorge that separated us, and he freaked out and ran away. Ran away at an angle that was way too close for comfort, and the three of us started running too. Running full speed in flip flops over rocks and through streams for a full 5 minutes.

Needless to say, when we finally worked up the courage to go back to camp, we packed up and hiked through the night until we found some other hikers to camp by. From that moment on we hung our food. we didn't have any other incidents until the last day, about 4 miles from Durango when when a baby black bear got spooked and ran away from us, luckily the mama was no where in sight.

04-25-2010, 17:28
Goes to show how everyone's experience can be different.

OTOH, 8 miles up the trail is right near a very popular trailhead. Not exactly the deep backcountry yet. Wonder if the bear are habituated to humans there. :)

In known bear country (aka Bear Creek. ;) ), I always ate dinner THEN set up camp.

Worked for me anyway.

Hope you had a good journey otherwise! :)

04-25-2010, 20:44
In known bear country (aka Bear Creek. ;) ), I always ate dinner THEN set up camp.

Great advice! Never camp were you cook. Camp at least few hundred yards away. Sometimes I will even eat early and continue hiking a few more miles before setting up camp-- but this is more due to logistics than bear protection.

I also use odor-proof bags-- OP-Saks to store my food.

If possible I do hang my food, but much of the CT is above treeline and tradional bear-hanging techniques are difficult.

04-26-2010, 00:45
I figured I'd come back and update now that we've finished the trail (a little late i know). Our game-plan was to sleep with our food, and after the first day of hiking, we set up camp around bear creek (!) about 8 miles from waterton canyon.
I must have started the trail a couple days after you. I remember seeing a note on a tree about a bear at Bear Creek, signed by Mooseman. I only hiked to Copper, but didn't see any bears.