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Photo Credit: Jared Gricoskie, Yellow Wood Guiding

Wildlife Watching

Viewing wildlife around Estes Park is best in fall, winter and spring, because these are the times when many animals move to lower elevations, including town and along roadways, for winter food and mating rituals.


September – October
Elk graze in low meadows and elk bulls bugle as they form harems of cows for mating.
October – November
Mule deer bucks are in their prime as they search for female deer (does).
November – December
Bighorn rams challenge each other with head-butt crashes that can be heard a long way off.
January – February
The rut is over; large groups of animals settle into the Estes valley to feed and wait for spring.
March – April
Herds feed in the lower valleys as grass starts turning green, preparing to return to alpine meadows
May – June
Elk, moose, deer and bighorn sheep introduce their newborn calves, fawns and lambs to our Rocky Mountains.

Elk, moose, and deer are most active at dawn and dusk. But bighorn sheep are active all day. So are marmots, squirrels, and chipmunks.

Birds are easier to find in early morning. Beavers work mostly at night.

Park Rangers are happy to help you learn how to find animals, and Rangers present programs on wildlife throughout the year.


Learn about the wildlife of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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