There are many places in Colorado where you will happen along some beautiful wildlife, but there are several special spots where you are almost guaranteed to see animals in their natural habitat. Along with native deer and elk, the more recent introduction of moose to Colorado offers some exciting viewing of the state’s largest wild mammal. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to see some of the elusive bald eagles at some of these locations.
San Juan Skyway
On the Western Slope, one of the most spectacular drives is the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. Some of the best spots for wildlife viewing are from Telluride, through Ridgway, Ouray and down to Durango. The Billy Creek Wildlife Area is a spot just 18 miles south of Montrose that is a designated area where you are likely to see deer, elk, and rabbits. Although moose have been spotted in Montrose, the best places to spot them are in the high passes around Telluride and south of Ouray. In these spots along the Skyway, you may also see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, and maybe even a black bear.
South Platte River Trail
Over in the northeast corner of Colorado might seem like an unusual spot to mention, but if you’re seeking the elusive bald eagle, this is the place to find them. Along the South Platte River Trail, over 100 bald eagles can be seen in the winter months. They seem to have staked their claim on the branches of the Cottonwood trees along Highway 34 between Greeley and Fort Morgan, so bring your camera!
Another out-of-the-way spot between the small mining town of Somerset and Crested Butte is the 10,000’ elevation Kebler Pass. There have been recent spottings of moose on this aspen-lined drive, and you’re sure to see many deer as well as the occasional elk, and even beaver. This 30-mile stretch of Highway 133 may be impassible in the winter months, so go early to catch the breathtaking fall colors every year as an added bonus. Most of this pass is paved, but there some spots that are gravel, so in wet weather, a four-wheel drive vehicle may be a wise choice.
Wherever you go in Colorado, you’re likely to see a plethora of wildlife, but add these locations to your list for the best opportunity to see many different species of game as well as native birds. While the Rocky Mountain National Park would usually be the perfect option, due to the 2020 wildfires, you will have to seek alternative locations.
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