Elk are a common sight in Estes Park, only second, perhaps, to summertime tourists. In fact, it’s estimated that 2,400 elk roam the area, allowing you to catch sight of them from the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, the Kruger Rock Trail, the city streets, and just about anywhere else in town.
With so many of these four-legged friends hanging around, how do you stay safe among those who, unsurprisingly, behave like animals? Consider the following tips:
Give them Space
Elk are not known for their aggressive nature, but they can attack if they feel threatened. In other words, look but don’t touch (and don’t even get close enough that they could think you might touch). Males weigh 700 pounds and females aren’t much smaller at 500 pounds. Either way, it’s not an animal you want charging at you. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to stay back at least 75 feet.
Opt for Primetime Viewing
You don’t need to look very hard to find elk in Estes Park; simply going out for a jog or taking a stroll around the block might result in a few sightings. But if you’re looking for primetime viewing or a postcard-worthy photo, consider venturing out early in the morning or at twilight when elk are most active (this is especially true during mating season, but applies to summer as well). In warm months, herds tend to congregate on Trail Ridge Road and alpine areas, providing you with an experience you’re sure to hold deer.
Elk have a reputation for being aloof, but that doesn’t mean they’re not intimidated by humans. To up your chances of seeing one (and decrease the odds of scaring one off when you do), try to remain as calm and quiet as possible. Keep your voice low, your car engine and radio off, and stay still. Don’t use an app or anything else to mimic an animal call. Luring animals this way isn’t only unsafe for the animal; it’s illegal for the human.
Elk are as much a part of Estes Park as saltwater taffy. Respecting these majestic creatures allows man and beast to coexist in happy harmony.
Taharaa Mountain Lodge is the perfect place to stay when visiting Estes Park. Tucked away from the rush and bustle of downtown Estes and surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, we provide a lodging experience sure to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Contact us to learn more.