Fall, Fall Guides

Tips For Viewing Wildlife This Fall In Winter Park

Whether you’re out to spot a moose for the first time ever or are a seasoned birder wanting to up your count, fall is the perfect time to witness Colorado’s diverse wildlife. Here in Winter Park, you have an especially unique opportunity to spot elusive local fauna due to our proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park and other wildlife refuges. That’s why we’re sharing our top tips for where to spot your favorites, and how to view wildlife like a pro this fall. 

Where To Watch Wildlife in Winter Park 

First thing’s first—it’s all about location. Surrounding Winter Park, you’ll find plentiful spots to post up for a bit and see wildlife in their natural habitat. 

, Tips For Viewing Wildlife This Fall In Winter Park

Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park is a premiere spot to witness wildlife—especially in the fall because it’s mating season. That means you’re bound to spot some bighorn sheep butting heads, catch moose wandering, or hear elk bugling. The Kawuneeche Valley on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park is the best place to witness elk during mating season, so make sure you stop by the visitor center on the way in for tips!  

Windy Gap Wildlife Viewing Area 

Located on the shores of the Windy Gap Reservoir and seated next to the confluence of the Fraser River and the Colorado River, Windy Gap is the perfect spot to up your birding count.  

Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge 

Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge “supports diverse wildlife habitats, including sagebrush steppe uplands, grassland meadows, willow riparian areas, and wetlands”. That means you’re likely to encounter wide range of wildlife including pronghorn, elk, moose, and badgers– and especially birds such as Clark’s nutcrackers, gray jays, and white-tailed ptarmigans. This 23.4k acre refuge supports nesting migratory and birds, so all you need to do is bring your binoculars and you’ll be good to go!  

Tips On Wildlife Viewing in Winter Park 

Research Wildlife Habits and Habitats 

If you want to spot wildlife, it’s best to do a little research first! Different species have distinct habits, feeding patterns, times of day they are most active, and preferred habitats, so understanding their behaviors can increase your chances of seeing them in the wild. We recommend Colorado Parks and Wildlife for valuable information about the local wildlife. 

, Tips For Viewing Wildlife This Fall In Winter Park

Go With A Guide 

Guides can help make spotting wildlife easy and fun! They know the best places to look for wildlife and will show you the sights while also providing facts and other valuable information about the area.  

Pro Tip: did you know you can go with a guide straight from the resort to Rocky Mountain National Park? Your hiking tour will even include a park entrance pass and reservation! 

Be Patient, Quiet, and Distant 

Nobody said it was easy, but wildlife viewing requires patience and distance! As you seek out wildlife in their natural habitat, it’s important to remain as unobtrusive as possible. That means keeping noise to a minimum, staying a proper distance away from wildlife, avoiding sudden movements, and using hand signals when in groups to communicate with others (even though you probably want to excitedly shout, “Look, I see something over there!”). The more invisible to wildlife you are, the more likely you’ll be to witness their behaviors and interactions. 

Bring The Right Gear 

If you’re going to head out in search of wildlife, it’s important to come prepared with the right gear so you can make the most of your adventure! Binoculars and cameras can truly enhance your wildlife viewing experience so you can still remain distant and out of their way. Quality binoculars and long-range camera lenses are a nice-to-have, but truly any gear you bring with you will help!  

Pro Tip: putting your phone’s camera lens up to a binocular’s eye scope can turn out some pretty impressive high-zoom photos! 

, Tips For Viewing Wildlife This Fall In Winter Park

Now that you know where and how to best see wildlife in Winter Park this fall, you’re ready to go! Start planning your trip today and we’ll see you out here! 

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