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Don’t Miss the Best Wildlife Weekend in Estes Park:

Elk Fest is one of the best times of the year to come to Estes Park for wildlife watching! Come to town to experience the elk rut – you don’t even need to go into Rocky Mountain National Park to see these magnificent creatures.

Best places to see elk

Bond Park – right in the heart of downtown Estes! One of the coolest things about visiting Estes Park is that you can see elk walking down our main street – aptly named Elkhorn Avenue! Bond Park, the main hub of Elk Fest is a place where elk frequently congregate.

Golf Course by Estes Lake – Elk return to the manicured grass of the Estes Park golf course year after year. They love to lounge on the course and play and graze in the shallow waters of Lake Estes.

Horseshoe Park – if you drive into Rocky Mountain National Park near the Fall River entrance station, go right past the visitor’s center and you’ll come to an open meadow called Horseshoe Park. Elk love this area and you can often see large herds here.


Tips for wildlife watching

Timed entry permits are not required to get into Rocky Mountain National Park before 9 am and after 2 pm. This is perfect for seeing elk in RMNP because dawn and dusk are the times elk are most active!

Bring your binoculars or telephoto lens to get a close up view of these majestic creatures. If your presence causes the elk to move away, then you are too close. Whether you’re in the park or in town, it’s best to keep a respectful distance from these wild animals.


Elk Fest 2023

There are lots of fun things geared to visitors of all ages at Elk Fest from September 30th – October 1st! From informative booths, to Native American storytelling, and a 5K Run – there is literally something for everyone. View the full schedule of events for Elk Fest 2023 here.

Curious to learn more about elk? Check out our Everything Elk page to fill your head with facts before your visit.

Experiencing the exhilarating and haunting bugle of an elk is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list! Of course there are lots of wild animals to experience in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are some great tips on wildlife watching near Estes Park, any time of year.

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