It is September in Estes Park and we all know what that means, it’s almost Elktober! It’s the perfect time of year to spot elk roaming through Estes Park and in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is also when the town hosts the Estes Park Elk Fest. Every fall, visitors can hear the haunting call of the bull elk in the Estes Valley and look forward to the chance to see them in action. Read here for the best places to see elk in Rocky Mountain National Park and in Estes Park during your stay at Alpine Trail Ridge Inn.
Best places to see elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
In general, the best places to spot a herd of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park are where the meadows meet the forest line. So, think low level, open, grassy places.
Moraine Park – Located just a few miles east from the park headquarters, Moraine Park is one of the best places to see elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. Approaching Moraine Park, the road winds through large open meadows where the elk love to congregate. There are pullouts along the road for viewing but can get busy during the day so head out early or stay late for best viewing.
Horseshoe Park & Upper Beaver Meadows – Slightly less known than Moraine Park are Horseshow Park and Upper Beaver Meadows. Take Trail Ridge Road to these less populated areas where elk are known gather during their rutting season.
A few other notable areas to see elk in near Estes Park are Harbison Meadow, Holzwarth Meadow, and throughout the Kawuneeche Valley.
If you are a bit more adventurous then head into the backcountry during a full moon and gaze up at the blanket of stars around you and the sounds of bugling elk. It is an experience unlike any other.
Best places to see elk in Estes Park
Elk actually have become fairly easy to spot in the town of Estes Park, with one herd of 30 that call the townhome. They can be seen meandering through the streets, munching on greenery, and roaming around neighborhoods. There are also a few golf courses in town that offer some of the best places to see elk in Estes Park. They also enjoy the far north end of town with its wide-open spaces.
Tips for viewing elk
- Dawn and dusk are prime viewing times.
- Be as quiet as possible. Keep conversations at a minimum, turn car engines off and be as still as you can be.
- Safe viewing distance for elk is around 75 ft. Any closer you risk disturbing the elk and risking your safety.
- It is illegal to use calls to view or attract wildlife. Be patient you will see one!
Where to stay near Rocky Mountain National Park
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn is the best lodging you will find near the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. Located off US Highway 36 West, just minutes from the main entrance to the park, Alpine Trail Ridge Inn offers guests the best in rustic luxury. Our newly remodeled accommodations are the perfect choice for your fall getaway to Estes Park. Check availability as rooms fill up fast this time of year and start planning your escape this Elktober!