Elk Herd In Rocky Mountain National Park

So on our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park last Friday, we had only ever been there in the summer and early fall, and didn’t know what to expect as far as seeing wildlife this time of year. But I had read up on their website and other places that this time of year is actually a good time to view wildlife because snow encourages them to the lower elevations. And sure enough, we saw more wildlife than any previous visit there. Take the elk for instance: we’ve seen elk at the park of course, but never such a large herd.

They were grazing alongside the road and to our delight they continued to graze after we stopped our truck at the edge of the road.

This time of year the rut has passed, but some of the bull elk were still bugling. This year’s calves and their mamas, the cows, called to each other when they would become separated.

Some of the elk lay in the shade of the trees. At one point, a pair of coyotes trotted along the edge of the herd. Most of the elk paid little attention, except for one, who got to her feet to stare at the coyote with a non-verbal, but unmistakable message, “I’m bigger than you-keep your distance”.

We watched the elk for about an hour and then moved on. Later we saw another coyote in Beaver Meadow. He was less than 10 feet away and a very beautiful animal close up, but his comical behavior was not what we expected from a wild animal. More on that tomorrow.

—–> UP NEXT TOMORROW: The antics of a coyote.

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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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25 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    Amazing photographs! Wow! Need to send this link to my brother and dad so they can look at the elk. Fascinating! Just saw a comment from you on Pioneer Woman’s site and liked the name so I clicked on you! Your blog is great! Come by for a visit if you get the chance. Would love to share some of my recipes with you!


  2. My husband and I love RMNP! We have a set plan to visit it every five years for our anniversary trip those years. We hope to start going there more often but there are so many other places to visit too and we have work schedules to plan our trips around.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Gardener,
      I love to visit there too, but we wouldn’t have gone there as many times as we have if it weren’t for my sister living there. There are so many other places to visit – wish I had another lifetime just for travel. 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    beautiful pictures – it almost felt like I was right there with you. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Joani says:

    Gorgeous animals.

  5. Melanie says:

    Looked like you could reach right out there and touch ’em!! Have never been there. .but I think I would definitely LOVE it!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Do go if you get the chance. The elk are never hunted there, so have no fear of people. The pic I took close up of the cow with grass hanging out her mouth was about 2 feet from our truck.

  6. Teresa says:

    I love the pictures. I am amazed at your skills.

  7. Debbie says:

    Great pics! By the way, I just read that the state of Missouri wants to reintroduce elk to parts of that state. Elk are quite a bit larger than deer, aren’t they?

    Looks like you are having a wonderful trip!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Debbie,
      I grew up in Missouri and while I love the sight of elk at RMNP, I have mixed feelings about them in MO. I would really hate to hit one with my car. They can weigh over 800 pounds. I don’t think my car would win that duel.

  8. Wow – those pictures are amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an elk before. A moose once, but not an elk. 🙂 Very cool!

  9. Doe of Mi. says:

    How exciting and awesome.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Doe,
      And they were quite chatty too calling to each other that day. I hadn’t noticed that when I’d seen elk before.

  10. gracie says:

    Your pictures are just wonderful. I have never seen any place so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them. Gracie

  11. Great pictures! Thanks so much for sharing them with us. You have a wonderful eye for photography.

  12. Elk are beautiful. What a great experience to see them up close like that. I have seen them with one of those view finders that you put 50 cents in..and they were sooooo far away! I love the photo with the big elk and the little wolf…that’s great…it’s like “Don’t even think about it mister”. hee hee! I love it!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      I had never seen that before -the coyote and the elk. Don’t think coyotes hunt elk as they are too big for them, but the elk wasn’t taking any chances and was very determined to let the coyote know he was not welcome. Funny!

  13. trisha harris says:

    Loved the photos of the RMNP. Used yo go a lot but haven’t been in years. I certainly enjoy your blog.

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