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Boulder Brook Blog

Rut! Fabulous Bugling Elk

As days begin to shorten and nights begin to cool, we glimpse a hint of golden Aspen leaves on the highest mountainsides and wait patiently for the first exciting sights and sounds of the annual Elk Rut — hardened, velvet free antlers and amazing, wondrous bugling.


Bull Elk are beautiful, huge, amazingly powerful wild animals with lots of bullish attitude. The rut is extremely competitive and energetically demanding, and Bull Elk are especially vigilant, irritable, jumpy, and understandably “pumped-up” as they vie for breeding rights.


Breeding season is stressful for the whole herd. Avoid potential accident, injury or death by always viewing from a safe distance.  If an animal is carefully watching you and appears “jumpy” or “twitchy” you are way too close.  Avoid eye contact and back away. Use the zoom instead.


Never, ever get between two bulls!  Situations can change instantly and you don’t want to be caught in the middle!  Be aware, this is true whether on foot or in your vehicle – two bulls focused on one another can charge at any time and antlers can, and will puncture a door panel or window if hit hard enough and Bull Elk don’t mess around – they hit hard!


Never, ever get between a Bull and his harem for the same reason.  And please, keep to a safe distance in respect to the Cows and babes as well as they can be every bit as jumpy, vigilant, and excitable as the Bulls.


Large groups of breeding Elk (a Bull and his harem) can be seen anywhere in Estes Park. They have no boundaries and wander freely through town. Slow down and be aware of your surroundings.


Never block traffic. “Elk Jams” are a danger to everyone. Blocking traffic on single lane roads creates all kinds of potentially dangerous situations.  Be sure to pull completely off the roadway, out of the way of through traffic.  Walk on the “sidewalk side” of the vehicle and remember not to surround or “corner” an animal while viewing.


Keep dogs leashed and quiet. Do not allow them to bark, lunge at or chase wildlife.


Never, ever imitate an elk call or bugle during the rut. Not only does each elk have his/her own identifiable “voice,” different bugles actually mean different things. “Saying” the wrong thing at the wrong time could endanger both you and the herd.


Please respect private property.  Elk know no boundaries. We love that about them — especially when we can watch a big, beautiful bull bugling and herding his cows through the middle of town or through the neighborhood or if you are here at Boulder Brook, up from the river and across our front lawn.


Remember – Elk are wild animals. Be aware and be respectful. View quietly from a safe distance. Never attempt to touch or feed wildlife. Keep dogs leashed and quiet.  Use the zoom. And if you see someone who is being careless or unsafe or making it unsafe for others, make the call.

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Three Nights of Fright – Fun for Everyone!

You know you want to wear that gory, gooey fake blood and those worm eaten, slightly shredded zombie coffin clothes more than once this year…why not do it here?


Halloween in Estes Park is always a great celebration of fun, fantasy, horror and hauntings and this year, promising to be bigger than ever, the Stanley Hotel welcomes costumed party goers to both the haunted MacGregor Ballroom and the famous paranormally active Concert Hall.


Start your Halloween hoopla at the annual Murder Mystery Dinner on Friday, October 23rd.  The event features a top theater act and an elegant four-course meal in the notoriously haunted MacGregor Ballroom.  If you were to dress in a vintage ball gown, replete in beaded chiffon, baubles and bling, you’d fit right in to the old-and-other-worldly charm of this beautiful Ballroom.


Add some fake blood, fangs, claws, scales, brains, bones and shredded robes to your elegant chiffon on October 24th when The Concert Hall, famous for being the fourth most haunted building in the US, opens its doors to guests both in and out of body for the annual Shining Ball. For a bit of inspiration or a peak into costumes of the time, check out Stephen Kings “The Shining” Mini-series.


If you want your tricks and your treats too, don your gory and ghoulish garb and add a mask for the annual Halloween Masquerade Party. Costumes and reservations are required for this freshly re-designed annual adult only event.


For more information and to purchase tickets to one or all Three Nights of Fright, please visit


Oh, and if you plan to sleep at any time during the festivities, make your reservations here at Boulder Brook – comfy beds, cozy suites, lovely river, no ghosts (that we know of).


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Only You Can Prevent RMNP Fires

This year Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding areas have enjoyed a relatively quiet wildfire season, however, the extra grasses and thick vegetation from the abundant spring and summer rains are drying out and autumn fire danger is rising.  Combined with the seasonal increase in mountain wind, we  have the potential for fast moving, large fire events.


The Park has always maintained and enforced precise fire restrictions. Campfires are only allowed within designated campfire rings at select locations in the park, including picnic areas and campgrounds with good reason.   In the fall of 2012, an illegal campfire caused the Fern Lake Fire which burned over 3,000 acres, caused an evacuation of a portion of Estes Park and cost more than 6 million dollars to suppress.


During the last two weeks of August, Fire Managers and Park Rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park responded to four illegal, escaped campfires.  While all four were suppressed at less than 1/4 acre, each one had the potential to spread and threaten lives and property.


The National Park Service, Park Rangers and Fire Managers remind us to be aware of our behaviors and our surroundings: NEVER, EVER start illegal fires in the park! Use only designated campfire rings in designated areas and be diligent about both campfire management (Keep it  small and contained in designated areas only!) and campfire dousing – Drown the fire, the embers, the ash and the ring before you step away or leave the area and then, just to be sure, drown it again.


One can never be too safe or too careful about any open fire in the park.  Be diligent. Be safe. Help preserve and protect our National Treasure.  Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

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Estes Park Film Festival @ Historic Park Theatre

The oldest operating theatre in the US proudly presents their Rocky Mountain National Park Centennial celebration at this year’s Estes Park Film Festival by focusing on local filmmakers and themes.


From September 4 – 17, visitors will enjoy special pricing and very special films.

The Living Dream 100 Years of Rocky Mountain National Park a dazzling documentary with amazing cinematography shows at 7p September 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 10, 11, 12 and 15 with 2pm shows every day except September 13.


Birds without Borders shows at 4p September 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16


Rivers of the Rockies shows at 5:30p September 4, 5, 7, 9, 11,12, 14, 16


Ghosts of the West – The End of the Bonanza Trail plays at 4p September 6, 8, 10, 14, 17


Making its debut this year, Solar Car, The Secrets of RA7, plays at 9p on Friday and Saturday, September 4, 5, 11, 12


For a touch of historic nostalgia, Tower of Love & PT Family Album shows at 5:30p September 6, 8, 10 and 15 and features the history of the Theatre and the people who made it all possible.


Special Film Festival Rates:

Single Show: Adults $9; Seniors $7.50, Children $6

Silver Pass: 3 Shows during the festival: Adults: $22; Seniors $18.50; Children $15

Gold Pass: 7 Shows during the festival Adults $30; Seniors $25; Children $20

more info: or phone 970-586-8904

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You’re Invited….

The year long centennial celebration of Rocky Mountain National Park culminateswith the official rededication ceremony on Friday, September 4th at Glacier Basin Campground on the east side of the park.


Join Governor John Hickenlooper, Senator Cory Gardner, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, Rocky Mountain National Park Superintendent Vaughn Baker and Honorary Chair of Rocky’s Centennial Senator Mark Udall in the meadow at Glacier Basin Campground for music, family activities and cake from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as we dedicate Rocky Mountain National Park for the next 100 years.  The area will open at 9 a.m. for event attendees.  The Glacier Basin Campground parking area is expected to fill early so a portion of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Park and Ride lot will be reserved for event attendees.


Rather than drive and worry about parking, ride the free shuttle. The bus will run from Estes Park Fairgrounds Park & Ride directly to Glacier Basin Campground beginning at 9 a.m. and will continue through 2:30 p.m.  Buses from the Fairgrounds will not run during the event.  Space is limited so please plan ahead, arrive early, carpool or use the shuttle. For more information about the events or for general questions about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206

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Be Aware: Save A Bear!

Your actions can save the life on an Estes Valley Bear.  Each fall, bears enter their pre-hibernation, pile on the fat, eating-fest (Hyperphagia) in which they seek to consume up to 20,000 calories each day so they have enough body fat and vital energy to sleep through the winter and emerge healthy in the spring.  Their quest for calories is limitless so it’s up to us to help them focus their efforts on finding good, naturally available Bear food, instead of allowing them to eat leftover human food and waste products.


Here’s what you need to know:


Black bears have big appetites!  They are mostly vegetarian but they aren’t picky. During Hyperphagia, just about anything slightly edible will do. Our trash is their food.


Black bears are nosey! They are curious and follow their noses to food. A Black Bear can smell food five miles away!


Black bears are busybodies!  They can be active anytime, anywhere, day or night.


Black bears are really smart! They quickly learn to identify food, packaging, and containers. Once bears find an easy meal, you can be assured they’ll be back for more.


Black bears are naturally shy. They usually avoid people but once conditioned to human food, they can and may become aggressive.


Human actions can and often do alter “good bear” behavior. Bears conditioned to human food and trash are drawn closer to homes and business than is good for them or us.


Do Your Part to Keep Bears Wild: Store any and all trash in a secure place or use a bear-resistant container. NEVER leave food, food wrappers, packed coolers, pet food or pet food packaging, dirty diapers, or anything leftover from any kind of food or human waste in your car or in an unsecured area or container. Burn off grills, remove soiled foil, and be sure to safely dispose of waste.


Stop a bear from getting a food/trash reward: Set off your car alarm, let loose with an air horn, make big noise with a wooden spoon and a metal cooking pot, or just get really big and really loud. A bear will run from the noise and hopefully remember the negative consequence of “bad bear” behavior.


REMEMBER: Because of us humans, Bears that have developed “nuisance” behaviors or that are repeat offenders cannot be relocated and are killed. We are the keepers and it is up to us to honor, respect, protect and preserve our wonderful park and all of its inhabitants.  Be aware: Save a Bear!  Mother Nature and all of the local residents thank you.

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Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival

Autumn Festival Season kicks off the annual celebration of turning leaves and autumn rut from September 19-13, 2015, with the 39th Annual Longs Peak Scottish Irish Festival. Highlights include US International Championship Jousting and Scottish Athletics, Massed Bands, a Huge Parade, Irish and Highland Dance, Dogs, Seminars, and a 5K race.


Everyone will love the nightly Tattoo – once the evening drum, bugle, or piper signal recalling soldiers to quarters – now a rousing parade ground concert of military bands. New this year, the pipes, drums, bands and drill teams start their performance at twilight with a cannon salute, followed by torch-lighting and the precision, grace and power of massed bands.  Tattoo shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30p.


Athletics on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday include Dogs of the British Isles competing in speed, agility, skill, and beauty with a Grand March of Dogs on Saturday and Sunday at 1p.  Show your dogs in traditional Black and White please!  Reaglestack Heavy Armour and Light Armour Jousting are featured daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10a – 5p.  The festival field will also showcase hammer throws, putting the stone, and caber throwing contests. The Strong Man Contest is held on Friday from 10a -4p followed by Amateur Championships Saturday and Sunday from 10a-4p and Heavy Athletic Professional Championships on Saturday from 10a-4p.


Along with athletics, Scotfest features Live Music and Traditional Highland Dance. Celtic Folk music features Celtic Harp, Fiddle, Tin Whistle, Hammered Dulcimer, and Vocalization.  Enjoy Celtic song each day from 9am.   Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Seann Truibha, Sailors Hornpipe, Scottish Lilt an more featured Highland Dances are ancient in origin, dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and an be enjoyed beginning on Saturday at 9a and on Sunday at 10a.


Adult (including figures) and Championship Irish Fies Dance (Jigs, reels, hornpipes, and set dances) compete on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9a.


For the complete Festival Schedule and to purchase tickets please visit




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Come Visit Boulder Brook

Nestled next to the rambling waters of Fall River, Boulder Brook is ideally located to take advantage of the unique shopping of downtown Estes Park or the rugged splendor of the Rocky Mountain National more