Pasadena police and wildlife officials warned residents to be on alert for a black bear after it was spotted wandering through backyards on Thursday.
The animal appeared to be moving from home to home for a couple of hours, aerial video showed.
Just before 5 p.m., the bear was seen near the intersection of Old House Road and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, near the Eaton Canyon Park Golf Course.
"It was pretty big, actually," resident Douglas Tucker said.
Tucker said the bear didn't seem aggressive but he didn't want to get too close. "It could probably do some harm to somebody," he said.
Police and California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens were on the scene, in an area in the northeastern part of Pasadena, not far from the Sierra Madre border.
Eaton Canyon, a popular natural preserve and hiking area in the San Gabriel Mountains, is about one mile away.
The bear had moved into a more remote area, toward a canyon, and wardens did not need to intervene, a Fish and Wildlife officer said Thursday evening.
Residents watched the bear as about four television news helicopters hovered overhead.
"It's a baby bear, so it's not that scary, and it's calm, quiet," said Miranda Moulton. "It's just scary when you have kids."
One resident who lives on Old House Road posted video of a bear on YouTube from a spotting earlier in the day.
Officers tried flashing lights in the bear's face and honking a car horn, but it appeared to be unfazed.
The Pasadena Humane Society warned people to stay inside and said on Twitter that one of its officers was on the scene.