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  • Andy Hitch

Potential Wildlife Sightings During Your Off-Road Adventure

You may not choose an ATV tour for birdwatching or spotting deer, but wildlife sightings are not unusual throughout the Estes Park area, regardless of the reason for the visit. Visitors should keep a camera within reach because of the natural beauty and the potential for amazing wildlife shots. Discover examples of what you may see when you visit.

Watch for Cats

Encounters with large cats happen rarely in Estes Park, but both bobcats and mountain lions inhabit the area. Mountain lions may concern people the most because of their size and speed; however, the abundance of deer throughout the forest keeps them busy. Male mountain lions can grow to about eight feet long, with the females slightly smaller.

Colorado wildlife experts estimate about 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions live in Colorado. Mountain lions in Colorado typically hang around wooded areas that include pinyon pine, juniper, and mountain mahogany. The big cats also like ponderosa pine and oak brush.

Never try to get close to a suspected mountain lion. This is especially risky if the animals are feeding on a kill. Groups of people and the noise of the ATV are often enough to keep the animals far away from visitors.

See the Moose

A bull moose can weigh 1200 pounds and stand six feet tall at the shoulders. Moose are the largest game animal in Colorado. Despite their size, moose are often shy creatures that choose to stay away from areas with human activity. However, the beasts can occasionally wander across roads and trails, walk through populated areas, and stop to check out campgrounds.

Moose often enter waterways to feed, and the sight will please anyone who wants a beautiful nature photo. Maintain your distance from the animals when watching or picture taking to enable you to escape if they choose to charge. Avoid moose during mating season (September and October) and when mothers have their young with them.

Enjoy the Birds

Birdwatchers will want to bring their binoculars along with their cameras when they take their ATV off-road adventure. Estes Park hosts many of the over 280 species of birds that live in Colorado. Hawks, eagles, falcons, as well as bluebirds and magpies, love the abundance of the remote forests.

Another abundant flying creature throughout the park is the butterfly. Hundreds of different types of butterflies also make their home in Estes Park. At least 141 species of butterflies live in the region. The Rocky Mountain National Park Butterfly Project works to study the creatures more closely to ensure their populations continue to thrive.

Look for More

Bear, coyote, and elk also live throughout the forests. Children and others can play detective and search for any signs of movement in the woods they pass while off-roading. The area has a huge population of small critters that most children (and adults) will also enjoy looking for during lunch breaks or when just stopping to enjoy the view.

Sightings of smaller animals could include squirrels, beaver, and chipmunks. The waterways have many fish and frogs, and snakes often inhabit the trails, grassy areas, and woods. Foxes and skunks also inhabit the region. Remember to not approach any wild animal (even the small, cute ones) or try to feed any of the creatures.

Adventures take place around every corner when people visit Estes Park. Even better than hiking through the woods is an unguided tour with an ATV, UTV, or dirt bike, or one of the many other options we offer. At Backbone Adventures, we make it easy to see it all in the most exciting way possible. Visit our website to learn more or to book an adventure.

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