Boulder Brook Blog

Just stoppin’ by for a snack…


Visitors lined the shoulders of Fall River Road to watch this small herd of bull Elk in old coats and new velvet grazing on our front lawn.

Antlers  can grow an inch a day and weigh up to 20 pounds each.  After a long, cold winter, new grass and forage are needed to build strength, stamina, muscle, and bone!

This beautiful Bull is one of the two mature males ‘mentoring’ the younger Bulls as they wander back and forth along Fall River Road in search of fresh forage.



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Bighorn Sheep Are Shy!

Rocky Mountain National Park provides protection for all wildlife.  Bighorn sheep are nervous, shy and very sensitive to human disturbance.  Please help to protect them!  
Spring brings many opportunities for casual wildlife watching.   Here are a few simple rules for viewing:



SLOW DOWN! Drive slowly and cautiously on Highway 34 including all of Fall River Road and along the north side of Horseshoe Park.

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 DD Sheep May 16 004 KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! Do not enter any “Bighorn Crossing Zone” by vehicle or on foot when sheep are present.  Allow all sheep ample space to cross the road. NEVER drive your car into the herd!! 
PULL OVER! Use road shoulders and stick to roadsides when sheep are present anywhere in the immediate vicinity.  NEVER STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!  Whether Sheep are resting and digesting on a sunny Fall River Road hillside or busily grazing in a front yard or in the meadow of Sheep Lakes, Sheep are shy, nervous, and excitable. DO NOT APPROACH or attempt to touch or feed. Use the Zoom feature or zoom lens on your camera.

A beautiful Ram resting on the hillside across from our office.

A beautiful Ram surveys his herd and eyes human spectators from the hillside across the street from our office.

BE QUIET! Do not approach sheep or make loud noises in their presence. Keep dogs quiet, leashed and under control. Do not allow them to bark at or chase wildlife!

Drive, View and Hike in Safety. Like Elk and Deer and all our beloved wildlife, Sheep have no boundaries.  OBEY all signs, detours, and closures. Sheep health, longevity, and survival depend upon our caring and responsible stewardship.  For more information about Big Horn Sheep and all the wonderful wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding areas please visit


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Spring Sheep and Snow!

 BBSheep2016 - April Snow 006  BBSheep2016 - April Snow 022
The Big Horn Sheep came by for breakfast. It was fun to sit beside the herd zoomed in for close ups of their beautiful faces.

There were about a dozen lambs!

There were about a dozen lambs!

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Today the herd was digging through several inches of snow that seems to be sticking to everything but the sidewalks and roads.  It’s perfect weather for wildlife watching, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.  Come on up! Spring time in the mountains is grand and we’re almost ready to bloom!  BBSheep2016 - April Snow 030


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Keeping Bears Wild

The beautiful Colorado Black Bear population is almost fully awake with sixty percent of the collared Bears out’n’about foraging for food.  Bears are omnivores with a primarily vegetarian/vegan diet of grasses, forbs, berries, acorns and seeds. Bears also eat insects and fish, scavenge the occasional carcass, and prey on fawn, beaver, marmot, deer, elk and even domestic livestock or agricultural products.


Keeping Bears Wild is as vital for Bears as it is for people.   Bears that seek out human food resources are at a higher risk of mortality due to lethal removals by landowners or wildlife managers, vehicle collisions, electrocutions, and other factors. It is best for Bears to forage and to eat naturally occurring Bear food, not people food or waste which can also have long term negative effects on overall Bear health.


Tips for enjoying the outdoors while being Bear Aware:


Whenever possible, walk and hike  in groups.   Use your senses!


Watch for Bear Sign (Scat), Paw prints or tracks, and claw or bite marks on trees and steer clear!


Make noise while walking or hiking – sing, clap, or speak up.  Bears will run from loud noises and hikers will avoid stumbling upon or startling them.   Check the Bear Aware Fact Sheet and learn to live peacefully and joyfully with wildlife at

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Awake and Hungry!

Your actions can save the life on an Estes Valley Bear.  Each Spring, hungry Black Bears wake from winter hibernation in need if quality food in quantity and their quest for calories is limitless!  It’s up to us to help Bears 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. Hungry Bears will eat just about anything.  Sadly – Our trash is their food so Pack it in! Lock It Down! and Pack it out! and  Leave no trace!  Make it your rule to protect and save wildlife. Use only Bear and Wildlife-Safe trash containers.


Black bears are nosey! They are curious and have an amazing sense of smell.  A Black Bear can smell food from 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. (When there’s food in your car, it becomes a container!) 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 businesses 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 left-over 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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Become a Junior Ranger Today!

Have fun discovering the natural world while learning about conservation, wildlife, flora fauna.  Anyone can be a Junior Ranger!  Pick up a free activity booklet at any visitor contact station, discover the park, and submit your completed project to a Ranger to earn your Badge.


Junior Ranger Headquarters, located at Moraine Park Discovery Center off Bear Lake Road, welcomes kids of all ages.  Throughout the the summer, thirty minute Ranger-led programs focused on kids age 6-12, are offered four times each day, every day at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 2:30pm.   Participation is free and a parent or adult must be present with children at all times. During the winter and spring months, Junior Rangers can connect with the park and the Rangers at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.


For more information please visit Be a Junior Ranger


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Rites of Spring

The first delicate blades of grass have begun to show green through the winter chaff. The mornings are filled with birdsong and the shaggy looking bull Elk are shedding last year’s antlers.  Happy to be eating fresh greens, the cows and calves forage front lawns and delicately pick their way through residential neighborhoods. Squirrels and bunnies poke out their noses to gather fresh cones and nibble on greens while we enjoy the lovely spring snow – lacy, thick and wet – it falls like white rain to nourish and waken the wildflowers.


Like Bears emerging from hibernation, we drop a layer or two of outerwear and chase the chill from the inside out at one of our happy Spring traditions – the annual Whiskey Warm Up.


On Saturday, March 12, 2016, from 1p to 4p, sixteen craft distillers set up booths throughout George Hix Riverside Plaza to showcase and offer tastes of bourbon, gin, rye, whiskey, rum and vodka produced in distilleries from Denver, Colorado Springs, Parker, Fort Collins, Lyons, Buena Vista, Greeley, Breckenridge, Golden and Palisade.


During Whiskey Snap Shot Seminars, you can learn about the history of bourbon, how to decipher what’s on a label and the anatomy of a punch. One producer uses an old moonshine recipe; another has mastered a blend of corn, malted rye and barley mash; and still another mills the grains before cooking them into a complex sour mash and completing the distilling process.  Attendance to hourly seminars at 1:30p, 2:30p and 3:30p is included with tickets.


If you enjoy a stogie with your spirits, visit the outdoor cigar shop between 1:30p and 3:30p where an authentic cigar roller will teach the art of rolling a perfect cigar. Festival guests can take home a handmade cigar with its own special Whiskey Warm Up band.


Enjoy one of two special food pairing sessions matching spirits with BBQ, chocolate and donuts. A first-come-first-served event, sign up for the 2:15p or the 3:15p pairing when you check in at the festival.


The popular Front Range folk duo, Pandas & People, will perform on the plaza from 1:30p to 3:30p.


After the official close of the Whiskey Warm Up, guests are invited to extend their experience with craft beverages at one of a number of whiskey inspired events taking place throughout Estes Park.


Festival tickets are $50 per ticket/$90/couple. Tickets, only available to those 21 and older, can be purchased on line at or at the plaza on the day of the festival.


Shed your heavy winter coat and warm up from the inside out. It’s Spring in the mountains, and we’re only just getting started.

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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