Top Spots to See Wildlife in Colorado

Colorado is a state with spectacular landscapes no matter which region you visit. If you are a photographer who enjoys taking pictures of wildlife these are the top spots to see wildlife in Colorado.

Wildlife watching and photographing wildlife are two of the most popular things to do in Colorado. You can move from region to region or you can select specific locations near quaint mountain towns, depending on what wildlife you most want to see. Keep reading to find the top spots to see wildlife in Colorado.

where to see wildlife in colorado

What Can You Expect to See?

Wildlife is abundant in Colorado. Depending on where you go, you may have a chance to take a snapshot of bald eagles. In addition, hiking up mountains may also be a great way to explore the beautiful landscapes and witness wildlife. On land, you may spy bighorn sheep, bison, elk, moose and, perhaps, if you are lucky, black bears.

Top Spots to See Wildlife in Colorado 

You can book excursions to various wildlife hot spots. It is a sure thing you’ll get some spectacular wildlife photos. But, if you want to take your time and drive through Colorado’s wildlife areas, then you can capture those animals on Kodak without leaving your car. You also have the advantage of being able to stay in one spot for as long or short a time as you want. Guided tours don’t offer this luxury.

If you are arranging your own wildlife tour, you might want to start at Fort Collins. The surrounding area is home to many animals and birds. Begin your drive up Poudre Canyon into Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here are the locations you shouldn’t miss.

wild moose


One of our favorite top spots to see wildlife in Colorado! If you want to see elk sparring and mating, then Rocky Mountain National Park is a good spot to be—especially during the rutting season in autumn. The best areas for observing wildlife are the Moraine and Horseshoe sections. Enter the park from the east near the Estes Park Route. Follow the signs to Moraine or Horseshoe.


Mount Bierstadt has an elevation of 14,060 feet. It is an excellent place to visit Colorado’s famous bighorn sheep and mountain goats. You will see all sorts of birds and you might even get a glimpse of beavers hard at work.

To get to the mountain pass, start at Grant on U.S. Hwy. 285. Go north on Guanella Pass Road toward Georgetown. Watch for signs for the pass.

where to find wild animals in colorado


Located near Walden, the park is home to more than six hundred moose. You can also see elk, mule deer, foxes, beavers, eagles and maybe even a black bear. Follow County Road 41 inside Colorado State Forest State Park.


This is a great place to see bald eagles—especially in the winter. Over a hundred of the, roost in the cottonwood trees along by the South Platte River. Take Highway 34 and you can also spot other birds. Have your camera ready for red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, kestrels, and merlins on your route between Fort Morgan and Kersey.

where to see wildlife in colorado (1)


If you want to see bison, then a drive through Genesee Park should be included in your top spots to see Colorado wildlife drive. Located in Jefferson County on Interstate 70, this almost 2500 acre park is part of the Denver Mountain Park system. Take exit 252, 253, or 254 and follow the Lariat Loop.


Near Idaho Springs, Colorado Highway 58’s scenic twenty-eight-mile stretch climbs to an elevation of seven thousand feet. Not surprisingly, it is closed during the winter months. From Echo Lake, take Highway 5. This will take you to the peak of Mount Evans. Along the route, keep your eyes peeled for both mountain goats and bighorn sheep. You might also see marmots and pikas out hunting for food.

bears in colorado


Near Denver, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is home to over three hundred species of Colorado wildlife. As you drive or walk through the park, keep your camera ready for mule deer, bison, bald eagles, coyotes, and a host of birds. 

If you prefer not to drive through the park, you can ride the trolley. It leaves the visitor center every two hours. Or, you can pick up the information for a nine-mile you-drive tour of your own.


This is an ideal location for those who like to get up close to animal life. This over-five-thousand-acre protected area is home to almost 250 migrating species. You can hike the area or you can rent bikes or horses to see the wildlife in a unique way. The refuge is an over five-thousand-acre tract sixteen miles northwest of Denver. It is west of Broomfield and Westminster and north of Arvada.


This two-hundred-and-thirty-three-mile loop connects the towns of TellurideRidgwaySilvertonDurangoMancosCortez and Dolores. It is considered Colorado’s most spectacular mountain pass. Here you can expect to see such birds as red-tailed hawks, eagles, kestrels, goshawks, and bluebirds. If you are lucky, you might also see foxes, elk, and possibly a black bear.

big horned sheep in colorado


Located near Cañon City, this is a great place to watch bighorn sheep scaling the canyon walls. Snap a shot of the drinking from the Arkansas River. Take Highway 5 from Parkdale to Coaldale.

Safety Tips

When you are driving, hiking, walking, or biking enjoy the Colorado wildlife. If you decide to venture to these top spots to see wildlife in Colorado, there are some safety tips you should always be aware of:

  • Use your common sense. These are wild animals, not pets. They will protect themselves and their young.
  • Don’t take selfies and don’t try to feed, pet, or ride these animals.
  • Used your telephoto lens. Don’t come nearer than thirty yards.
  • If animals give off warning signs, get away from them. Watch for things like hair raised on their backs, ears flattened, stomping of hooves, pacing, or alarmed sounds.
  • Keep trash cleaned up. It can attract bears. What’s in it can also harm animals.