Boulder Brook Blog

Do it with a Ranger!

Rangers are one of our greatest resources.  As experts in local terrain, flora, fauna and wildlife, Rangers watch over and tend to the Park and park visitors with care, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge and experience they eagerly share.


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open all year and offers a variety of winter programs and opportunities for adventure, exploration and learning in the company of a Ranger.  Drop in any day between 10a and 11a for Wild in Winter! to learn with a Ranger about winter in Rocky and about how humans and animals alike adapt in this beautiful and challenging season.


Saturday Evening Programs (Jan 16, Jan 30, Feb 13, Feb 27, Mar 12) Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service with a variety of engaging, one-hour Ranger-led programs. For details on each day’s program, visit, call the Park Office at 970 586‑1206, or check in at the visitor center before heading into the park for a sunny late morning trek in the windswept snowscape.


Whether you love to snowshoe or you’d love to learn and are feeling a little bit adventurous, reserve your place on a 2-hour, Ranger-led Snowshoe Ecology Walk offered daily at 12:30p from Jan 2–Mar 19.  Learn technique, gain skill and knowledge as you traverse various terrain and explore the natural world of a subalpine forest.  Ages 8 and up only. No previous experience needed. Bring your own snow­shoes. Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance by calling 970 586‑1223 from 8 am to 4 pm. (Snowshoe and gear rental services are available in town. Ask at the Front Desk for more info.)


Imagine the snowfields glowing in silver moonlight beneath the Milky Way in the stillness of the night. The Ranger-led Full Moon Walk is a 1 to 1.5 hour walk held only on the nights of the full moon – Jan 23, Feb 22, and Mar 23, 2016.  Start Times and locations will vary each month.  Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance by calling 970 586‑1223 from 8a to 4p daily. Maximum of six (6) people per reservation.  Outdoor clothing and gear appropriate for the night-time, outdoor conditions are required.


Special Holiday Programs are offered from December 26 – January 1. Stop by the visitor center or call 970 586‑1206 for specific topics and times.  If you’ve got a bigger group or larger family, Park rangers may be available to provide special programs just for you!  Call 970 586-3777 to make reservations in advance.


Rangers and Ranger-led programs are kid friendly and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them.  Junior Rangers have fun discovering the natural world and learning about our national parks. We need the help of ALL our rangers to keep Rocky protected for many years to come.  Pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Booklet at any visitor contact station, discover the park, and earn your badge!


New in 2016 and just for 4th Graders!!  you and your family get free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year.  How do you get your free pass? Visit Every Kid in a Park at  do a short activity, print your voucher, and bring it with you to the park entrance station. That’s it!  For a full line-up of real time and virtual kid and youth oriented activities and programs, please visit


Remember, Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road are closed for the season.  For Park information and current road conditions please call 970-586-1206.  For Colorado road conditions please visit 

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Daylight Savings – Slow Down!

Elk viewing is by far one of the most engaging and fascinating activities to enjoy especially in the colder months when the local herd spends more time “down-valley” and downtown.


Elk, like much of our local wildlife, feed, forage, and meander all day but are generally most active at dawn and dusk.  As dusk arrives earlier in the winter months, motorists and visitors are advised to be alert and cautious – Elk have no boundaries and wander freely – often close to, beside, across or in the road especially in slick weather, where footing is sturdy.


Visitors downtown may also enjoy “Elks on Parade” the almost daily crossing of the herd from the Visitor Center/Estes Lake area to the surrounding grazing and napping areas.


Elk are like shadows at dusk and can often appear to come out of nowhere.  To prevent incidents and/or collisions between autos and elk, visitors are encouraged to Slow Down! relax the foot on the gas pedal and engage the senses to improve driver reaction time and viewing pleasure.


For the best possible experience with the least possible disturbance, remember to Slow Down! Stay Alert and Look Ahead and Around your vehicle. Watch for the reflections of headlights in shining eyes and on Wapiti (white rumps!). Obey traffic signs and exercise extra caution in  active wildlife areas.


Drivers involved in a wildlife/vehicle collision should immediately report the accident to Colorado State Patrol by balling *CSP (Star* key and 227).  For more information on wildlife and traffic safety please visit www.

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Trail Ridge Road Closed for the Season

RMNP is open and welcomes visitors 365 days a year.  Trail Ridge Road, with eleven miles above 11,500 feet, few guard rails and no shoulder, winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet, was not designed for winter travel.  On Friday, October 30, 2015, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed to through travel for the season.  Guests are able to drive up to Many Parks Curve on the east side.   Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, and Horseshoe Park are all open for hiking, wildlife watching, photography, and seasonal sport, adventure and fun.


According to acting park superintendent Ben Bobowski, “At higher elevations with freezing temperatures, ice and snow continues to blow and drift on Trail Ridge Road, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous.  During the winter season, weather permitting, we will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.”


Old Fall River Road closed for the season on October 23.  Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road will remain open to bicycles and leashed pets until November 30, re-opening on April 1, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted.  Cyclists and pet owners may utilize the road at their own risk.  After November 30, both of these roads will revert to “winter trail status” which means that bicycles and leashed pets are not permitted beyond the closed gates.


For current road conditions and other park information, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


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Old Fall River Road Closed for the Season

Old Fall River Road has closed for the season. It remains open to bicycles and leashed pets until November 30, 2015, reopening on April 2, 2016, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted. Cyclists and pet owners utilize the road at their own risk.

Trail Ridge Road October 23 Near Ute Trail

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park continues to be closed to due to snow accumulation from the recent storm, three foot drifting in some locations and freezing temperatures.   It is unknown when the road may reopen. 

For recorded Trail Ridge Road status please call (970) 586-1222.  For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit

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Autumn Gold

The first official day of Autumn 2015 is heralded by stunning patches of golden Aspen leaves dancing in the breeze up on the mountains bathed in sunshine beneath a clear blue  sky.   One of the most beautiful mountain seasons, Autumn in Estes is great for hiking, biking, running, riding, fishing and all kinds of play as we revel in the warm sun, the freshly scented cooler breeze, and the flow of nature all around us.


Enjoy nature in and out of town on Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, 2015, at the 20th annual Bands Brats and Beer Festival held downtown in Bond Park in celebration of Autumn, craft beer, and live music.


Enjoy mustard-smothered Brats, cold brews, soft drinks, and great music with headliner, Wendy Woo and her Band; The Long Run (an Eagles Tribute Band); Amplified Souls (rock/pop); Chain Station (Bluegrass); and the award winning a-capella group, 17th Ave Allstars.


Vendor booths will offer corn on the cob, funnel cakes, fresh lemonade, roasted almonds and desserts.  Kids will love the free family activities – face painting, soap bubbles, corn bag toss, bounce house and a classic car show!


In addition to smaller cash awards, the winner of the popular annual raffle takes a $5000 grand prize; the runner up takes $2500.  Raffle Tickets are $25 each with proceeds distributed to community non-profits and other causes.


Grab your dancing shoes, gather the kids, the lawn chairs and the picnic blanket and spend a sunny afternoon in the park with friends, family, food and music.  Autumn Gold is a free, family friendly event with something special for everyone.



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Good Elk Morning

To our delight, a happy surprise greeted us early this morning when this big Bull brought his harem over for breakfast.

To our delight, a happy surprise greeted us early this morning when this big Bull brought his harem by for breakfast.

The Cows enjoyed the clover growing in abundance on our front lawn.

The Cows enjoyed the clover growing in abundance on our front lawn.

SEP9 Harem 014

Guests enjoyed their company for quite some time as he watched over the group of Cows and yearlings from the shelter of our Aspen Grove …

Remember: Elk are huge, powerful, wild animals.

before herding his harem to the deeper shade of the grassy hill across the street where they enjoyed a little respite between courses.

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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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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