Boulder mountain lions on the prowl

Cougar presence looming large based on personal encounter and recent video

By Paul Hagey Sep 20 2018

At about 8 p.m. last night, doing sit-ups (happens once in a while) in my front yard near the Viewpoint Trail entrance near Eben G. Fine park at the mouth of Boulder canyon, yells, rocks and sticks thudded on the path just overhead. The path is obscured by foliage, but I heard a group trying to scare something off, which must have been just 10 yards above me.

This went on for a few minutes and then stopped.

Later, I was sitting out front on Arapahoe Avenue and a stream of 10 or so headlamped trailrunners came up the street in the dark toward Eben G. Fine. A few stopped and warned me that a mountain lion had blocked their original path to Arapahoe and wouldn’t budge, despite their yells and throwing things. They had to backtrack and hit the neighborhood on the University Ave. trail entrance.

The Viewpoint trailhead, just southeast of the motel, has been a hotbed of wildlife activity. Photo credit: Marc Doherty, BLDRfly

I cautiously walked up the dark trail, hoping to catch a glimpse, but didn’t go too far. The atmosphere still held a charge. Indeed, my front yard still holds it.

It’s easy to forget that mountain lions are all around us in Boulder. In fact, our town has one of the the densest population of lions in the country — I should know, I reported that story. But this event hit deeper, lighting a fuse that won’t soon burn out.

It’s one thing to hear that a lion broke into a nearby home or roamed the lighted Foot of the Mountain Hotel across from Eben G. Fine last week (The mountain lion makes a quick dash towards a motel guest and his dog, who can be seen exiting and quickly returning to their room in the top right of the frame). It’s another to feel its presence in your bones.

Later last night, watching a guy walk a small dog along Arapahoe, abutting the foot of Flagstaff Mountain, which must be crawling with lions, gave me chills.

This brings a new appreciation, respect, caution and thrill for living in Boulder.


Colorado Parks and Wildlife tranquilized and captured a lion found hiding under porch in central Boulder late Friday. Here’s video of its release to Boulder County open space over the weekend.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.