ESTES PARK, Colo. — Elk Fest attracted thousands of people to Estes Park this weekend, providing it with one of its largest crowds this year.
“We heard it’s elk season,” said Adam Luna, a Denver resident.
Luna has lived in Denver for seven years, but had never made his way to Estes Park or Rocky Mountain National Park until this weekend. Like many others, Luna came to see the elk.
“[We haven’t] seen nothing yet,” he said with a chuckle.
Turns out, the larger herds of elk were nowhere near downtown Estes Park on Sunday afternoon. If you wanted to see them, you’d have to drive a few miles away toward the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.
“I think the elk got the memo that there was a big festival today so they stayed away,” said Mary McCormac with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The moment you began to approach Rocky Mountain National Park, you could see vehicles pulled over on each end.
We saw at least two giant herds of elk gathering in fields.
“Sometimes you have to go up to the park a little higher,” said Jeremy Baca of Fort Collins.
This time of year is mating season for the elk, so it’s important to be extra cautious when approaching herds. Wildlife officers warn the animals can be aggressive.
“The rule of thumb for us is if your behavior changes the animals’ behavior, you’re too close,” McCormac said.