Beginning in mid-September, as Aspen leaves slowly fade from their brilliant summer green hues to shimmering gold, the elk herds in this area begin their annual rut (mating) season. With the colorful backsplash providing the setting, the memorable sound of mating calls fill the air. There are plenty of places to enjoyably listen to, and watch, the spectacular forces of nature.
Among the many ways to view wildlife in Estes Park (at all levels of interest - from a distance, closer up, in photos), is ‘tail'gating. Instead of the traditional football-style tailgating, guests of Estes Park can bring new meaning to the fun with a small picnic in a prime elk ‘tail' viewing spot around town, either led by a guide or experienced on their own.
To celebrate the region's large elk population the town also hosts a special ElkFest during the first week in October (officially renamed ‘Elktober') featuring seminars, bugling contests, elk tours, a Mountain Man encampment, native American music and dancing, and many more family-friendly activities.