Colorado Wildlife Viewing
Glenwood Springs shares the natural and urban landscape with Colorado’s most spectacular wildlife. Find out where to spot bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and other majestic animals.
Nature’s diverse creatures thrive in and around Glenwood Springs. Deer range through neighborhoods, herds of elk recline in meadows, and eagles soar above Glenwood’s riverways looking for their next meal. Catching a glimpse of these and other local wildlife is easier if visitors know where to look and how to behave in the presence of these magnificent animals. Follow these tips of optimal wildlife viewing.
Tips for Viewing Wildlife
Always follow these tips from the White River National Forest when viewing the area wildlife:
- Observe animals from a safe distance.
- Move slowly and casually, not directly at wildlife.
- Never chase or harass wildlife.
- Leave pets at home.
- Respect others who are viewing the same animals.
- Do not feed wild animals.
- Respect private property.
Where to See Colorado Wildlife
Rocky Mountain Elk
Also known as wapiti, the majestic Rocky Mountain Elk like to congregate in open meadows and on the golf courses south of town between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Herds can be spotted there throughout the year, but especially in winter when cold temperatures force the animals to lower elevations. Bring binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens for the best viewing. Keeping a safe distance is critical; winter is especially hard on all animals as they need to conserve their energy to survive the season.
Big Horn Sheep
Spring and fall are the best times for bear sightings. In autumn, bears come down to lower elevations to eat the service-berry and other plentiful fruit that grows nearby.
Bear encounter tip: Unless they have cubs nearby bears generally avoid humans. If cubs are in the vicinity, keep a safe distance away; mama bear is probably nearby. Hikers should consider purchasing a bear bell to alert bears to their presence.
Black Bear Facts:
- Black is a species, not a color. In Colorado, many black bears are blonde, cinnamon or brown.
- With their bulky fur coats, bears can look bigger than they are. Males average 275 pounds and females average 175 pounds.
- Over 90 percent of a bear’s natural diet is grasses, berries, fruits, nuts, and plants. The rest is primarily insects and scavenged carcasses.
- Black bears are very wary of people and other unfamiliar things. Their normal response to any perceived danger is to run away or climb a tree.
- With a nose that’s 100 times more sensitive than a human’s, a bear can smell food five miles away!
- During late summer and early fall, bears need a whopping 20,000 calories a day to gain enough fat to survive the winter without eating or drinking.