Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are both home to many different forms of wildlife, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and bears. But one of its lesser-known, but just as impressive, forms of wildlife are the 280 species of birds that make Rocky Mountain National Park their home. So, grab your binoculars and hit the trails with our guide to birdwatching near Estes Park and discover life within the trees and beyond.

Favorite spots in Estes Park

Walk or ride along the Lake Estes pathway that runs parallel to the Big Thompson River. The path meanders through the lakeside bird sanctuary, making this a great area for birdwatching near Estes Park. The spring migration is a particularly popular time to visit.

Favorite spots in Rocky Mountain National Park

Popular spots for birdwatching in Rocky Mountain National Park include Trail Ridge Road, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Endovalley, Bear Lake Road, and Lumpy Ridge. Lumpy Ridge is known for the population of raptors. Be sure to check the park’s website as this area is often closed to allow for the birds to nest. Other birds that love the cliffs of Lumpy Ridge include peregrine falcons, red-tailed hawks and goshawks.

What you can see

While we can’t list them all, there are literally hundreds of different bird species that can be spotted throughout the year. Most of the species are unique to mountain areas of high aspen groves, willow, evergreens, and alpine tundra. Keep your eye out for blue grouse, gray jay, red crossbill, mountain chickadee, waxings, white-tailed ptarmigan, and many more!


To almost guarantee you will see certain species of birds, migration and breeding seasons are the optimal times to see these birds that don’t make this area their home year-round. Migration takes place in spring and fall while breeding season begins at the end of May and runs through July. Primetime to catch migratory birds are from sunrise to around 11 a.m. and then again two hours before sunset.

Birdwatching programs

Park volunteers lead bird-watching programs within the park for those who would like more expert guidance. The guided walks aren’t long and offer plenty of information.

Stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts

image of rocky mountain resorts

When looking for lodging near in Estes Park near Rocky Mountain National Park, consider a stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts. We offer a wide variety of affordable accommodations including vacation rentals, cabins, and cottages. Our mountain-themed accommodations are the perfect complement to your Rocky Mountain getaway! View our specials here and book your stay with us today!