Where to Go and What to See
Colorado is a beautiful, breathtaking state with a very unique combination of diverse terrain and a wide variety of wildlife. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the vast prairies, there are many places where you can see wild animals in their natural habitats enjoying life to the fullest and minding their own business. The following destinations are the absolute best for wild animal watching in The Centennial State so make sure to check some of them out during your next visit.
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Located in north-central Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and many species of birds. It is a very popular national park for all sorts of leisure outdoor activities and visitors can explore it on foot or by car. There are many trails and overlooks that provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing but also hiking and camping.
2. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
In southern Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a unique landscape combination of towering sand dunes and rugged mountains. Such a region is bound to have very rich and diverse wildlife, and it is safe to say it really does. This area is home to a variety of wildlife including mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, coyotes, and a wide variety of birds. Visitors can explore the dunes on foot, by horseback, or by sandboard, and there are many great spots for wildlife viewing throughout the park.
3. Mesa Verde National Park
Located in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is known for its ancient cliff dwellings and stunning views to awe at. The park is also home to many different species like black bears, mountain lions, mule deer, elk, moose, and many species of birds. Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails and overlooks to see these animals in their natural habitats.
4. San Juan National Forest
Covering over 1.8 million acres in southwestern Colorado, the San Juan National Forest is home to a wide variety of diverse wildlife. From predators like black bears and mountain lions to large herbivore mammals like moose, elk, and mule deer, there are all sorts of wild animals who call it home. Many species of birds live here too, great for bird watchers. Visitors can explore the forest on foot (hiking), by horseback, or by mountain bike, and there are many great spots for wildlife viewing throughout the area.
5. Pike National Forest
Another important national forest in Colorado, it is located in the central part of the state. The Pike National Forest is home to all sorts of wild animals, similar to other regions of Colorado. You can encounter black bears, mountain lions, elk, mule deer, and different birds while exploring the forest. Speaking of, the visitors can do so by riding a horse, cycling on a mountain bike, or hiking on foot. A plethora of great spots for wildlife viewing throughout the area are there, often doubling as perfect camping or resting grounds.
6. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Located in the western part of Colorado, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is known for its dramatic cliffs and stunning views. The entire park is a natural habitat for different species of wild animals, including black bears, mountain lions, moose, mule deer, elk, etc. A lot of different birds, big and small, live here and are easily spotable. Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails and overlooks to see these animals in their natural habitats while learning about this ecosystem and its goings-on. The best time to see wildlife here is early in the morning or late in the evening, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly so as not to miss anything.
With wildfires being a major concern for states like Colorado, it’s worth reading this article on the devastating impact of wildfires on neighboring Oklahoma and the bravery displayed in the face of such destruction.
A Great State for Animal Lovers
Colorado is a great place to see wild animals in their natural habitats. From the Rocky Mountains to the prairies, there are many places where you can see a wide variety of wildlife. While these 6 are the best places to do so, there are also many other areas in Colorado where bird watchers, animal lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts can come and spend some quality time in nature. No matter where you go, be sure to keep your distance from the animals and respect their space and privacy. It is only right to leave them be and only marvel at them from afar. Enjoy your trip!