The Denver Foothills and surrounding areas are home to a diverse range of wildlife. Here are some of the animals you might encounter:
- Elk: Elk are common in the region, especially in areas like Evergreen Colorado and the Rocky Mountain National Park. They are most active during the early morning and late evening hours.
- Bear: Black bears are native to Colorado and can be found in forested areas. Remember to secure your food and trash if you're camping, as bears are often attracted to human food. This bear below was hanging on my patio the other day
- Mountain Lions: These elusive predators are also native to Colorado. While sightings are rare due to their secretive nature, they do inhabit the foothills and mountains.
- Fox: Foxes, including the red fox and swift fox, are common throughout Colorado. They are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests to grasslands and even urban areas.
- Bison: Bison are a classic symbol of the American West, and there are plenty of these majestic giants to be found throughout Colorado. For a sure sighting, check out Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, the Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve right off I-70 (exit 254) near Golden, and Zapata Ranch near Mosca.
- Bighorn Sheep: Bighorn sheep are another iconic species of the American West. They can often be seen in mountainous areas, including Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Bald Eagles: The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, just ten minutes from downtown Denver, is home to a variety of species including bald eagles.
- Deer: Deer are common throughout the region, and can often be seen grazing in meadows and open spaces.
- Songbirds, Waterfowl, and Burrowing Owls: These bird species are also found in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts over 330 species of wildlife.
- Other Wildlife: Depending on where you are, you might also see animals like coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and various species of rodents and reptiles.
Usually, the best place to see wildlife is just driving around but here are a few places to consider:
There are several places in and around the Denver Foothills where you can see wildlife:
- Rocky Mountain National Park: This park is a prime location for viewing a variety of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, and many bird species. It offers 415 square miles of wilderness and is located about an hour from Boulder.
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge: Located just ten minutes from downtown Denver, this refuge is home to more than 330 species of wildlife. Here, you can see bison, bald eagles, deer, songbirds, waterfowl, and burrowing owls. The refuge also offers nature programs, guided wildlife viewing tours, fishing, wildlife photography, and hiking on over 9 miles of nature trails.
- Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve: Located near Golden, right off I-70 (exit 254), this preserve is a great place to see bison in their natural habitat.
- Zapata Ranch: Near Mosca, this ranch is another location where you can see bison.
- Daniel's Park: Just outside of Highlands Ranch, this park is another location where you can see a variety of wildlife.
- Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd: This conservation area is dedicated to preserving bison and is a great place to see these majestic animals.
- Terry Bison Ranch: This ranch offers another opportunity to see bison.
Remember, when viewing wildlife in the Denver Mountains, it's important to keep a safe distance and never feed wild animals. Enjoy observing these creatures in their natural habitats and respect the role they play in Colorado's ecosystems.