Zac Efron grew up playing in the outdoors, but finding himself face to face with a bear on a recent hike isn’t something he was expecting.
On a recent trip to Montana to climb to the top of the Continental Divide, the actor — who along with his younger brother Dylan were decked out in Columbia Sportswear — got a little more adventure than he was looking for when they came across a grizzly bear.
“Out of nowhere, [we were like] ‘Okay, that’s a bear. Everybody stop. And we all stood still,” Efron tells PEOPLE exclusively about the face-off.
However, the bear didn’t back down, and “somebody silently whispered ‘But it’s charging at us,'” he adds. “It took like two big canters at us.”
Luckily, the bear eventually retreated and “disappeared behind some trees,” says Efron. “It was the scariest part of the trip! But it was cool to see a bear that close. It was maybe 15 or 20 feet away. It was charging at us!”
Efron, 29, and Dylan, 25, recently partnered up with Columbia Sportswear to act as their “gear testers,” and the collaboration was a no brainer for the siblings, who grew up going on adventures with their family.
Earlier this year, the Efrons — who kept warm on the trip in the brand’s OutDry Ex ECO jacket (made out of 27 plastic bottles) — filmed a hilarious job interview video with the brand’s 93-year-old chairwoman Gert Boyle.
“She is definitely one tough mama,” he says. “She’s super smart and beyond sweet, but you can also tell she’s a tough lady. We had so much fun filming.”
And as he approaches a milestone birthday, the Baywatch star is reflecting on everything he still hopes to accomplish.
“I’m about to turn 30, so I’m thinking about how much of the world is left to see, how much there is to do and how much is out there,” says Efron. “Luckily this is kind of an excuse for me to get outside even more and follow my dreams and see the rest of the world.”