Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

This is a timely yet unfortunately necessary post.  Over the weekend, a Colorado triathlete was bitten and later succumbed to the venomous bite of a Prairie rattlesnake on a trail in the popular Mt. Galbraith Park.  A favorite hike for us locals but also known for its abundant bull and rattlesnake populations.
With cooler weather here and winter approaching, many rattlesnakes will be on the move to start heading towards their hibernation dens. This means that as the temperature drops at night, more and more snakes will become active during the day.
Due to this sad news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading back out on the trails.  However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I’ve encountered on average 1 rattler a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county rangers and open space experts, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.
Our 14er training group hiking Mount Morrison in July. We saw a 6 foot long Bullsnake on the trail that day….

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