THE 100-HEAD HAREM: massive elk harem in Estes Park, CO

By Scott A. Rowan

In another recent story, I shared some tips and tricks for people to increase their chances to see elk when on vacation, especially when going to Rocky Mountain National Park.

In that story, I pointed to a specific part of Estes Park where an unusual elk display can be witnessed during rut season. Bull elk will gather their harem during rut, typically numbering up to 20 cows. But in the stretch of town from the MacGregor Ranch heading north along Highway 43 (toward Glen Haven) the bull elk will gather their harems into one massive herd easily totaling 100 individuals.

Their movements are well coordinated with bull elk positioned at the front, middle and rear end of their movable feast. The bull elk can be easily heard bugling to each other. Considering the bugle calls came from the bulls to each other it appeared to be the way the bulls shared information about the conditions of their movement.

Google Maps isn’t always correct.

If you’re hoping to view this huge migration across the area, a good place to park is the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead parking lot. Lumpy Ridge is a fantastic hike that I can highly recommend.

NOTE: Google Maps provides the *WRONG* directions to Lumpy Ridge as of December 2016. The current directions take you to a person’s house where a polite sign will let you know to turn around. Lumpy Ridge is clearly marked, there’s many signs on the road to let you know where to turn. You just need to ignore Google Maps for the final half mile or so of your drive.


#elk #elks #RMNP #RockyMountains #animals  #4L