Traveling to Estes Park for the first time? Never seen a moose before and hoping to catch one before you go?
Well, you’re in luck! This helpful guide has everything that you need to know about where to see moose in Estes Park.
To put it simply, they’re everywhere – and if you’re traveling in late Spring or early Summer, it’s actually hard not to spot one.
However, it hadn’t always been this way. Moose numbers in Colorado hit their lowest in the early 1970s but were thankfully reintroduced to the Rocky Mountain region in 1978.
Now standing at six feet tall and weighing anywhere between 600 and 1,600 pounds, they’re simply too large to miss!
This guide has everything you need to know about them too. Specifically, I will cover:
- Areas where moose are most likely to be spotted
- Best time of year to see moose in Estes Park
- Tips for seeing moose.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right in!
Areas Where Moose Are Most Likely To Be Spotted
The great thing about Estes Park is that there are just so many beautiful and memorable locations to catch a glimpse of moose.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, every one of these spots offers a unique opportunity.
Rocky Mountain National Park
For lush meadows and picturesque lakeshores, head to Rocky Mountain National Park. Not only is this place iconic, but it also has a moose population of around 60!
Moraine Park is another prime moose hotspot. Head there at either dawn or dusk for your best chance at a sighting against the picturesque backdrop of the rocky mountains!
Upper Beaver Meadows
Much like Moraine Park, Upper Beaver Meadows is a well-known moose spotting location inside Rock Mountain National Park – perfect for dusk or dawn excursions.
Bierstadt Lake Trail
Is hiking more your thing? The Bierstadt Lake Trail is perfect for avid hikers looking for a peaceful expedition through the forest in the morning.
Cub Lake Trail
As with all these locations, the best time to spot an elk is either dawn or dusk!
Cub Lake is no different. Walk this beautiful trail straight to Cub Lake for the best chance to spot a moose.
Trail Ridge Road
Prefer the comfort of your car? Not to worry, Trail Ridge Road’s got you covered.
This route is absolutely breathtaking, taking you through Rocky Mountain National Park and leading you straight to the moose grazing grounds in the high-altitude meadows.
Horseshoe Park is great too, especially in the early hours of the morning. In fact, you might even catch a glimpse of some elk or a bighorn sheep in the area!
Glacier Basin Campground
The nearby Glacier Basin Campground is also known to get moose in the morning. Therefore, I would recommend ditching the hotel and rolling out the sleeping bag for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bear Lake Trailhead
Bear Lake Trailhead is also known to be an excellent walk to catch a moose. On the way, you’ll even get to spot some magnificent lakes, waterfalls, and peaks. What a treat!
Fern Lake Trail
Similarly, Fern Lake Trail has a lot of beautiful scenery and moose on offer. If you’re struggling to decide on the perfect trail, look on their respective websites for length, difficulty, and highlights.
Best Time Of Year To See Moose In Estes Park
The best time of year to see moose in Estes Park can vary depending on how readily available grass and willows are for them to feed on.
Late spring (May)
Late Spring (and May in particular) is known as the best time for a sighting.
This is because the area is at its most lush and green, with moose actively grazing across the landscape. In fact, it has been reported that you are likely to see anywhere between 5 to 15 moose per 4-hour tour!
Early summer (June)
Early Summer is also quite good, with the long June daylight hours allowing many an opportunity to see them out and about.
Early fall (September)
Early fall is also okay, but be prepared to bring binoculars as the cooler September weather may drive some of the moose away.
Tips For Seeing Moose
Now that you know the best spots and when to go, read on for some handy tips and tricks to increase your chances.
- Go during dawn or dusk. This will always be the best time to go as the low-light hours are when they’re the most active
- Look in wetlands and lakeshores. As this is where their food and water are located, focus your efforts on these spots
- Be quiet. As they are startled easily and sensitive to noise, stay quiet and leave any loud clothing or equipment at home so as not to disturb the moose
- Use binoculars or telephoto lenses. Especially if you go around September time, bring something that will allow you to spot a moose from a safe distance
- Maintain a safe distance. Even though they’re undeniably beautiful, moose are still wild and unpredictable animals.
50 yards is a great rule of thumb if you want to guarantee not only your own but the animal’s safety too.
- Stay hidden. To avoid disturbing or frightening the moose, crouch low or even wear earth-colored clothing to remain hidden
- Be patient. Even though you might be, the moose are certainly not looking for you. Be prepared to stay in one location for an extended period of time if you want to catch one in the wild
- Respect park regulations and safety guidelines. Maintaining this fantastic piece of nature is of the utmost priority. Make sure that you’re following the rules to protect both yourself and the environment
- Check with park rangers. These guys will have all the latest and greatest bits of information to help you find a moose. Get in contact with a nearby park ranger with any questions that you may have
- Drive cautiously. The last thing you’d want is to endanger the moose population. Drive slow and to the limit, keep an eye out for any animals who may be crossing the road.
- Educate yourself. There’s more than this helpful guide out there. Read up on moose behavior and habits to increase your chances of spotting one.