A Fall Favorite: Enjoy the Call of the Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park

As the air cools off and the leaves burst with color, there's a certain magic in the air. Adding to the beauty of the season and our natural surroundings is the opportunity to experience wildlife in a unique way--one that only comes around once a year. From mid-September through mid-October (and sometimes even into November), elk gather in groups of tens and even hundreds in Grand County's corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. Against the breathtaking backdrop of vibrant golden leaves and mountain peaks, bull bugles are abundant during this elk mating season. We think "listening to an elk bugle" should be a serious contender for your personal bucket list!


Grab a cup of coffee and head out to catch the sounds at dawn, or pack a picnic and enjoy dinner at dusk as you soak in the majesty of the bull and cow elk communicating through grunts, squeals, and "shouts." The range of their pitches and the sheer power of their calls can only be fully appreciated when you hear it in real time. Dawn and dusk are when they are most active, so if you have the chance to get up there on an early morning or an evening, we hope you can make it happen!


One of the best places to find elk and hear them bugle is right past the west entrance of RMNP in the Kawuneeche Valley. Elk typically prefer the park’s lower-elevation meadows for mating between mid-September and mid-October. If you don't see anything in Kawuneeche Park, keep driving and check out the Harbison Meadows area. Bottom line--drive up past Grand lake a couple of miles, enter the national park, and start looking and listening as you wind through the headwaters of the Colorado River! 


Elk can be more aggressive during the rut, so be sure to keep your distance and stay safe! We like to call it having a "healthy fear" of some of nature's most majestic animals. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 25 yards (about the length of two school buses) away. Stay on designated roads and trails and follow the guidance from the National Park Service. And remember to pack those binoculars so you can enjoy them safely! 

Posted by Leah Bishop on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.