If you are reading this you probably know how breathtakingly gorgeous Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park can be. This is particularly the case in Autumn, which coincidentally we are in the midst of right now. The days are a gorgeous blend of cool mornings, warm comfortable afternoons, and chilly nights. It is not impossible to go through a 40 or 50 degree temperature change in 24 hours this time of year. These cold nights, coupled with warm sunny afternoons makes it the perfect season to visit and even more fun to explore. At Kirks Mountain Adventures we are committed to providing the best fully guided outdoor recreation adventures available in the Estes valley.
This time of year, a trek up Longs Peak is unfortunately out of reach, as the weather is extremely unpredictable in the fall. For all intents and purposes autumn does not last long in the high country and the snow has already begun to blanket the high alpine meadows. That being said, it is not too early to book a Longs Peak excursion for next year. In fact with Christmas coming up, a backpacking adventure would be the ideal gift from Santa for that outdoors person on your list. But now it the perfect time to explore the lower meadows of Rocky Mountain National Park and Kirks offers day hikes into prime leaf and elk viewing areas.
The Mighty Elk
One of the year-round denizens of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are a large population of elk. These beasts are generally high mountain critters and if you are able to make the drive up to the Alpine Visitor’s Center in the summer, you will more than likely see herds of elk lounging on the tundra. Once the snows begin to blanket the peaks of the park the elk depart for “greener pastures” as it were and they move down the hill. The meadows of the park are lush and green this time of year with interspersed tracts of bushes and aspen. This is mating season for the elk and they have incredibly interesting habits this time of year.
The Elk Rut
The majority of the year, elk roam the mountains in groups of either males or females. The male elk form what is known as bachelor groups and the females are tasked with rearing the young. When the mating season is triggered by instinct, the bachelor groups break up and begin to group together females and immature males into what is known as the harem. The male elk will, and often need to, fight rival males trying to steal females from the harem. This results in spectacular grappling of antlers and hooves. If in the right place at the right time, a lucky hiker can have a front row seat to this incredible display.
The time is now if you want to experience the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park and Kirks is your way to get there. So contact us today to book your fall hiking adventure and experience the once in a lifetime exhilaration of the elk rut.