Black Bears are the only type of bear found along the San Juan Skyway

Wildlife viewing in Colorado and its San Juan Mountains is easy. Ridgway State Park, Mancos State Park, the San Juan National Forest and other parks are within easy reach from the San Juan Skyway. Ridgway State Park, for example, has Elk, mule deer, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, yellow-bellied marmot, red fox, cottontail rabbit, other mammal wildlife species – and even Black Bears. You’re never more than a short drive from the natural habitats of more than 900 species of Colorado’s wildlife. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks and more than 300 state wildlife areas. To make it easier to find wildlife viewing places in the San Juans and elsewhere in Colorado, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has created an interactive map covering more than 200 Colorado wildlife sites.
American Black Bear
You won’t see grizzlies among wildlife in the San Juans. Colorado once had grizzlies but now officially has only one type of bear: the American Black Bear (Ursus americanas). Colorado has as many as 20,000 Black Bears roaming around. Many are not black. Black is a bear species not a bear color. Many Black Bear colors are cinnamon, reddish, pale brown and rarely even blonde. Colors might change with seasons and bear’s age, for example, going from brown to black.

Black Bears average 3 feet tall when standing on all four feet. Males average 275 pounds and females 175 pounds. Their bulky fur coats make them look bigger. Black Bears hibernate around early November and emerge from dens around early May. On average, two cubs are born in a den in late January. Black Bears like shrublands and subalpine forests. Most of their diet is grasses, berries, fruits, nuts, and plants, depending on what is seasonably available. Black Bears also eat insects and a variety of small mammals. Black Bears have incredibly sensitive noses so they can smell food as far away as five miles. All the more reason for never leaving trash outside, storing food in tight containers, and not bringing any products with scents along on wildlife viewing trips.