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Elk Rut in Colorado : 7 days in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Updated: Nov 14, 2020

Mid September.

The Rockies were on sight as soon as we left Denver, CO. The drive to get to Rocky Mountain National Park is simply splendid : a mix between forest and river and if you are lucky, like we were, you can even see some big horn sheep.

We got into the park during the afternoon. We decided to scout the different meadows to see if we could find some sign of the elk rut. Failure. Without a single sign of elk in the meadows we decided to head to our campground, Moraine Campground. Tent set and bags unloaded we drove to check Moraine park, the largest meadow, right in front of the campground.

Photo 2020

After 3min out of the campground, a large herd with a huge bull was peacefully grazing and resting during this afternoon. We spent the rest of the afternoon observing the herd.

Good to know : In order to protect the natural behavior of elk during the rut (and maybe some tourists) the park closes the meadow access from 5p.m. to 7a.m, but you can still take pictures from the road.

All the shots during this rut season were taken at Moraine Park. I would clearly recommend to focus your time more on the morning for the following reasons :

- More action during early morning than in the late afternoon.

- The morning light at 7am is still soft and works well for photography.

- Because we are around 8,000 feet in elevation, mornings are pretty chilly and give you the opportunity to take pictures of elk when you see their breath through the sun rays.

If you can afford it, I would personally recommend to avoid weekends during this season. According to the park, the number of visitors double during weekends to witness the rut.

About Moraine Campground : The area is beautiful and there is a lot of camping spots.

Toilets are very clean but you don’t have showers.

Caution. Ground squirrels are voracious over there :)

And rangers are very friendly.

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