One of the biggest attractions in Estes Park is our elk. All year round, you can find elk roaming our streets, eating our flowers, and stopping traffic. Elk are easiest and the most fun to observe during their mating season which is also called “the rut.” During this time, bull elk gather large herds together and things can get real interesting if another bull elk tries to get too close.
Even though you have a pretty good chance of finding a herd of elk anywhere in Estes Park at any given time throughout the year, here are the best places to view the elk during their rut:
The Golf Courses
Estes Park has two golf courses. The 9 hole course can be found near the Information Center by the intersection of Hwy 34 and Hwy 36 right downtown. The best spots for viewing elk on the 18 hole course are found by heading south on Fish Creek Road from Hwy 36 on the east side of Lake Estes.
The North End
This area of Estes Park is known for wide open spaces, huge views of the continental divide, large homes with acreage (here is one example…and its for sale, too). From downtown, head north on Hwy 34 past the Stanley Hotel and Take a right on MacGregor Ave towards Glen Haven. Follow Devil’s Gulch Road to H Bar G Road to the Right and then follow Dry Gulch Road back to town on Dry gulch which connects back with Hwy 34.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Check out Moraine Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, or Horseshoe Park for wide open meadows that usually have elk dotting the landscape. You’ll need to pay the park entrance fee of $20 per car load. The best way to figure out where the elk are inside the national park is to ask the ranger at the front entry gate. From Estes Park, head west on either Fall River Road or on Moraine Ave until you get to the National Park.
Elk Fest is a very popular event in Estes Park every fall. Scheduled tours, programs, and even a bugling contest highlight the weekend. Here is a link to more details about Elk Fest.