Elk In Estes Park: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Any Elk In Estes Park?

Elk In Estes Park

In the 1800s, miners and trappers who passed Colorado depended on elk for food. By the mid-1800s, many people move to the area and eventually settled here because of the abundant wildlife. As a consequence of hunting for income, leisure, and food made the elk population disappear in Estes Park by late 1800.

Then, they were reintroduced to Estes Park in 1909 and were restored by the citizens. First, 25 young elk were brought from Yellowstone National Park, 24 in March 1915. The populations flourished and the Rocky Mountain National Park was founded as a protected area for wildlife. 

Today, elk are everywhere in the Estes Park area. The regional joke is that you are likely to spot one on the golf course, however, there are many opportunities to see them in their natural habitat. Elk are found in Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, and Moraine Park. Here you can spot dozens of elk and also listen to their majestic bulls bugling.

How Many Elk Are In Estes Park?

There are approximately around 2400 elk present in the Estes Valley, which is quite a huge number that is considered big for this area. They are scattered all over the park in the summer and fall seasons, with more than 800 elk spending their winter season in the park.

Where Can I See Elk In Estes Park?

Elk are quite easy to spot, with a herd of 30 in Estes Park. They can be seen wandering around the park, munching on grass, and wandering in the neighborhoods. They especially like the far north area of the town that has open spaces that is perfect for grazing. A few places in the park to watch elk are:

  • Downtown Estes Park

The low elevation makes it a perfect place to wander in the Estes Valley. You can hear sounds echoing in the mountain town. In the peak season, you can see them roaming down shopping streets.

  • Estes Park Golf Courses

Even elk love the manicured grasslands of the Estes Park Golf Course. The flat grassy ground situated alongside Lake Estes, is excellent for wildlife viewing. The course is marked with elk walking or laying in the grass. It is quite a display for golfers and people passing by. You can spot elk lying lazy howl and munching on the lawn.

  • Rocky Mountain National Park

Of course, the list is incomplete without mentioning the Rocky Mountain National Park. The park, where the forest line meets the meadows is the best place to spot elk. The lower elevation and airy fields are the perfect spot for them to wander. Moraine Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, and Horseshoe Park, the Kawuneeche Valley are a few of the places in the park to spot an elk herd.

What time of year are elk in Estes Park?

Elk In Estes Park

During fall, in Estes Park, there is a shift in the season along with multicolored foliage,  snow, and the mating season of elk. While it is possible to spot them at any time of year when visiting the park, fall is the exclusive time of the year to view herds roaming through the lanes in town. 

From the streets of the town to golf courses, you can view elk everywhere in Estes Park. The best times to see and hear elk in Estes Park are late evening or early morning. This is when they are most active. A few residents of Estes Valley might be lucky to enjoy these distinct calls from their verandas.

Also Read about Elk In Arkansas

Are elk in Estes Park in the winter?

Elk are consistently present in Estes Park, no matter what season of the year. During the cold winter months, they just relocate to the lower elevations in the park. 

This is because, during winter, they are in search of warmer temperatures, mostly in huge fields, for the winter season. So, visitors not ready to face the arctic temps can view elk grazing with dramatic snow-capped peaks in the backdrop.

What Famous Elk was killed in Estes Park?

On November 11, 1995, the unofficial mascot named Samson, a bull that weighed 1,000 pounds and seven-by-eight-point elk, was unlawfully killed by a poacher. Two years later, Samson was in honored by a larger-than-life statue in Estes Park on September 17, 1997. 

The beautiful statue stands at the junction of Colorado Highway 7 and U.S. Highway 36. The statue was financed by donations from the Estes Park residents to support Samson’s legacy and his untimely death. 

Additionally, his death was memorialized in various news stories, a beer with his name, and pictures from the Brewery. You will also find sweatshirts and many other memorabilia.

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk In Estes Park?

You cannot hunt in the Rocky Mountain National Park area, however, you can hunt in the Roosevelt National Forest region which is located in the eastern parts of Estes Park. This is because the Park depends on the hunters of the National Forest to maintain the herd number.

Also Check Our Guide On Elks In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Estes Park. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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