Wildlife Viewing in Central Colorado
Mule deer, Eagles, Elk, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Pronghorn Antelope, and various other smaller mammals and birds.

The variety and concentration of wildlife found in Central Colorado is one of the highest in the state; offering year-round opportunities for the whole family to see, learn about, and enjoy wildlife. Watching wildlife can be a goal in itself, or it can be a nice addition to fishing, bicycling, hiking, car touring, or any outing. Some of the best viewing experiences are from the car. A vehicle acts as a blind and animals often draw nearer and act more naturally than they would if they saw the form of a human. Animals are most active in early morning and evening, so for the best viewing experiences, tailor the time of day of your outing. A trip down a particular country highway at dawn or dusk may yield views of mule deer, elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat, pronghorn antelope and many smaller mammals and songbirds. The same trip at noon may offer no wildlife at all. 

The Colorado Division of Wildlife website may add to your understanding and enjoyment of Colorado's wildlife.

Mountain Goats

Wildlife Viewing Areas in Central Colorado

Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
This 11,168-acre refuge is located 3 miles east of Alamosa on U.S. Hwy 160, then 2 miles south on El Rancho Lane. Ducks, geese and shorebirds nest on themarshes. Bald eagles are common November to March. Walking trails, and auto tour route and Bluff Overlook provide wildlife viewing displays. Refuge open daily dawn-dusk. Visitor center open Mon.-Fri. 7:30am-4pm; closed holidays. (719) 589-4021.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
This Recreation Area stretches 148 miles along the Arkansas River. There are several different species of wildlife found along the river corridor. Bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, badger, deer, elk and birds of all types are just some of the animals you may see. There are several viewing areas along the river, which offer spectacular vistas.

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
This 14,189-acre refuge is located (west of Alamosa) 6 miles south of Monte Vista on State Hwy 15. Migratory ducks, geese shorebirds and water birds nest in the area, and mallards and geese reside on refuge grainfields in winter. Sandhill and whooping cranes can be seen October through November and February through April; bald eagles are abundant November through March. Auto tour route open daily dawn-dusk. (719) 589-4021

Mueller State Park
This picturesque state park is located off Hwy 67 between Cripple Creek and Divide. It is situated at the west side of Pikes Peak and covers an area of 5,000-acres. Mueller is home to elk, black bear, eagles and hawks. With the park's groves of aspen trees, each season is a delight for photographers and sightseers. Almost 55 miles of scenic trails invite you to explore Mueller State Park's rare beauty on foot, horseback or mountain bike. (719) 687-2366

Pike and San Isabel National Forests
The Pike and San Isabel National Forests are home to most of Colorado's wildlife and have excellent wildlife viewing areas.

Rio Grande National Forest
The Rio Grande National Forest is home to many of Colorado's wildlife species and have several excellent wildlife viewing areas.

San Luis Lakes State Park
San Luis Lakes State Park and Wildlife Area 30 miles north of Alamosa and 15 minutes west of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument occupies 2,369 acres of land. Wildlife watching is a year-round activity at San Luis Lakes State Park. Nesting and migrating birds and other native animals provide visitors with a "world class" watchable wildlife experience. Bald eagles and other raptors, sandhill cranes, shorebirds and water birds can be seen seasonally. Small and large mammals, amphibians and reptiles are common in the surrounding riparian area. Guided wildlife tours are available - ask at the park entrance or park office for more information.

US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Recreation Interactive Map
Shows National Forests, Wilderness Areas, National Parks, Fish & Wildlife service areas, BLM monuments, and the Continental Divide

General Backcountry Safety--This training program was prepared by Charley Shimanski of the Mountain Rescue Association Education Committee. It is an introductory course in backcountry safety for those with little or no experience in mountainous and backcountry terrain. This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. (All backcountry recreationalists should read this. It could save your life!)