In Rocky Mountain National Park and neighboring towns. black bear sightings have increased the past several years, but no more than a hundred bears inhabit the parks. There are no grizzly bear in the park.
Only the black bear is known to exist in Rocky Mountain National Park. Because they avoid humans, they are not often seen. Its northern cousin, the grizzly bear is no longer found in Colorado.
Black bears are not always black. Frequently they are brown or cinnamon colored. Its body is heavy and is supported by short, powerful legs. They vary in size and weight: males reaching as much as 500 pounds and measuring about three feet high when on all four feet and five feet tall standing upright. Females may reach 200 pounds.
A black bear has a home range where it finds all it needs. It travels to different areas of its home range as snow recedes, plants sprout, and berries ripen. This range may be anywhere from 10 to 250 square miles. Black bears are excellent tree climbers. They are fast-moving and can easily outrun the quickest human.
Black bears will eat almost anything. Most conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food or garbage. Once a bear has found food which is easily accessible, it will overcome its wariness of people and visit the site often. If you are on the trail, keep food with you at all times and do not leave your pack unattended. At backcountry campsites, all food, cooking equipment, garbage, and scented or odorous items must be stored in a carry-in/carry-out bear-resistant food storage canister (required May - Oct for all backcountry sites below treeline). In campgrounds, these items as well as water containers and pet food must be stored in a closed vehicle or campground-provided food storage locker. Storage in tents, pop-up campers, sleeping bags or under tarps is prohibited. If left unattended, these items are subject to confiscation by park rangers. The only exceptions to these rules occur during food transport, preparation, eating, and cleanup which rarely kill animals of any great size for food. Bear attacks are very rare, but possible.