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Elk viewing and Elk Fest

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Elk viewing and Elk Fest

Mu husband and I are planning a trip to Denver at the end of Sept/ early Oct, and we want to drive to Estes Park/Rocky Mountains for a day. I'm very interested in seeing elk and was wondering what the the best place/time of day is to see them during that time. Also, we might be there Sept. 30-Oct. 3, and it looks like Elk fest will be going on at that time. How congested is the town and park during that time? Will the restaurants and stores be really crowded, and will we be able to find parking in town?

Also, is there a good, casual restaurant in town or in the park where we'd be able to get burgers/sandwiches for lunch and dinner?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Monument, Colorado
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1. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

You won't have any problem finding elk during Elk Festival. You may likely see them around town. The larger herds should be at the lower meadows of Rocky Mountain National Park, which is easily accessible from town. I prefer early or late in the day. There are plenty of casual restaurants in town. Don't think you'll find any that are not casual. Crowds should not be bad because it is after Labor Day. You should have a great time! Large Elk herds are something you'll never forget.

Estes Park, Colorado
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for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
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2. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

You will definitely see elk! The 9-hole golf course by Lake Estes is a favorite spot at that time. The lower lying areas of RMNP are prime spots, too - Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows & Moraine Park.

Estes is actually quite crowded that weekend due to the elk rit so I would advise making reservations for lodging & dining. As mentioned above, everything in Estes is pretty casual and you can easily use the TA restaurant reviews for guidance. There area plenty of posts for dining in Estes Park, too.

Since you are visiting for the day, I would recommend either parking at the Visitors Center or by the library/town hall since they have the largest lots and then walk around town from there. The Visitor Center is right by the 9-hole course, too.

Have a great visit!

Nederland, Colorado
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3. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

I posted these elk videos last week... here they are again:



Edited: 1:29 pm, August 08, 2011
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4. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

I was there on Trail Ridge Road last month and I noticed Elks around the Alpine Visitor Center at around 5PM and I saw a huge herd of Elks in the grasslands near the Grand Lake RMNP entrance around 6PM(Maybe Dinner time for them?) ...

Kansas City...
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5. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

My husband and I will also be there for this event. We were in Estes in June and decided to come back for the Aspen colors and elk fest.

There is an excellent BBQ place called "Smoking Dave's" very reasonable, huge portions, and casual. Also, alittle locals type resturant "Morningside Cafe" excellent homestyle cooking with some authentic Mexican offerings, also reasonable and casual.

Plus, we found the Safeway store offered some decent take out for picnics

You really can't miss seeing Elk in Estes, they're everywhere, front yards, backyards, next to the dog park, outside craftshops, they're all over the place

Denver, CO
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6. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

First of all, that's a great time to visit. The Aspen trees will be close to their peak. It's also rut season, so the elk are well, in the mood and very active. We were up last weekend and saw a herd within 20 yards of the road with one doe about 5 yeards away and the other females running away from the one male.

I don't recall a trip to Estes Park without seeing elk, so you'll definitely see them in the lower portions of the park and perhaps in town. One thing to note is because it's rut season, they close off some parts of the park. You may have to view from a far, so perhaps bring some binoculars or good zoom lenses for your camera.

7. Re: Elk viewing and Elk Fest

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