Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Your guide to the Rocky Mountain National Park elk bugling spectacle

September 28, 2012, 8:05 am

ElkThere’s really no other sound like it in nature.

That loud vocalization of high-pitched squeals and screams that ends in a succession of grunts. The bugle that begins deep and resonant and carries for miles.

As you stand in Horseshoe Park, Moraine Park or Upper Beaver Meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park, that sound of the elk bugling is captivating, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at the family cabin. Thousands of elk who have migrated to lower elevations for the winter season graze the meadows and roam for cows. Many more even migrate into neighboring Estes Park, making their homes on the golf courses.

From mid-Septemer to October is the elk mating season, and subsequently, it’s also the prime elk-watching season. As the bull elk jostle with each other for their mates, thousands of tourists will rub elbow to elbow, compare lenses on their cameras and line up alongside Moraine Park Road to catch the best view of these sacred 1,100-pound creatures.

The time is now to visit this spectacle. Be prepared for elk-induced traffic jams that will even have Denverites shaking their heads.

Read the complete story, including the best viewing areas and viewing etiquette at