Woman survives mountain lion attack in Mill Creek Canyon

She and her friend came around a corner on the trail and encountered the animal.

(Lauren Gustus | The Salt Lake Tribune) The view from the Pipeline Trail in Mill Creek Canyon is photographed on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

A woman survived a mountain lion attack Sunday morning while trail running with a friend in Mill Creek Canyon.

The two women were on the Pipeline Trail around 8:30 a.m. when they rounded a corner and encountered a cougar.

The woman closest to the mountain lion tried to back away, but the animal leaped at her. In that moment, she slipped and fell backward. The cougar clawed her, leaving two puncture wounds in her right leg, according to Faith Jolley, a spokesperson for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The other runner hit the cougar with a rock, and the two women were able to get away and hike down the trail together.

They called 911. First responders examined the woman’s wounds, and then her friend took her to a nearby hospital. According to Jolley, the woman is in stable condition and her wounds are not life threatening.

By Sunday evening, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources had found and euthanized the animal. They are “confident” it is the same cougar that attacked the woman, Jolley said.

Jolley said it’s “pretty rare” for cougars to attack people. Biologists believe the animal was startled when the two women came around the corner.

(National Park Service via AP) This Feb. 14, 2019, photo provided by the National Park Service shows a mountain lion known as P-47 in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area west of Los Angeles.

According to WildAwareUtah.org, cougars are most active at dawn and dusk, when they hunt. The website also urges people to not hike alone, to make noise while hiking so animals know a person is near, and to leave the area if they come across a dead animal that a cougar may have killed.

If you encounter a cougar, don’t approach it, and never run away. Maintain eye contact while you make yourself appear bigger by waving your arms or jacket. Talk firmly, back away, and leave the area.