image of a grizzly bear

Are There Grizzly Bears in Rocky Mountain National Park?

03/31/2020 | by Lyles Armour | Area Wildlife

Are there grizzly bears in Rocky Mountain National Park? No, there are no grizzly bears in Rocky Mountain National Park or the entire state of Colorado, but at one time, there were. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado used to be home to an abundance of grizzly bears until they were declared extinct in Colorado in 1953. At one point, grizzlies thrived in Colorado until the 1940s and 1950s when their population started to diminish due to extreme hunting. While it is most widely believed that grizzly bears do not exist in Colorado, there have been reports of sightings on a somewhat regular basis, leaving most to ask are there grizzly bears in Rocky Mountain National Park?

And while there are no grizzly bears in Rocky Mountain National Park, there is plenty of other wildlife to keep your eye out for.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Next to elk, bighorn sheep are one of the most popular wildlife encounters visitors will encounter. Weighing up to 250 pounds, the bighorn sheep is an impressive sight to see when two male rams battle it out over a cliffside.

Elk

The most prevalent and the most popular wildlife in the park and Estes Park is the Rocky Mountain Elk. Mostly found in lower valleys throughout the park during the fall, winter, and spring months, elk travel in herds but can sometimes be seen grazing by themselves. They are most active in fall during “the rut” season, where herds gather to mate. It is also common to witness elk roaming the streets of Estes Park, so always keep your eye out!

Mountain Lion

Though not often spotted or sought after, the mountain lion is one to watch out for. Stalking their prey, they are often quiet and hard to spot, so as not to startle their prey. If you do happen to spot a mountain lion, do not try to run. Instead, stand tall and appear as large as you can to try and scare it away.

Moose

With a male reaching up to 1,500 pounds, moose are the largest member of the deer family. Their long legs and large antlers make them easy to spot. Typically moose are found along low marshes, streams, and in big meadows.

Black Bear

Even with a small population in the park, the black bear is not uncommon to be seen by hikers and campers. During the spring, they emerge from winter’s hibernation to feast on shrubs and new ground growth in the forest. In the summer and fall, they head to cooler climates within the alpine.

Marmots

Found mostly above 10,000 feet in alpine country, marmots are the park’s furry little friend that you can find scurrying around on rocks and tundra.

Please Note: When viewing wildlife, be sure to view at a safe distance and do not attempt to feed or pet them. They are wild animals and can be unpredictable. For further tips visit RockyMountainNationalPark.com.

Stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts

When planning your visit to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to check out our vacation rentals at Rocky Mountain Resorts. Located just minutes from downtown Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain Resorts offers guests a convenient and affordable place to stay. With a variety of cabins, condos, and vacation rentals, our accommodations are exactly what you need to enjoy the best of Estes Park and the Rockies!

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