White River National Forest


Opportunities abound to watch a wide variety of species. Wildlife on the Forest includes elk, mule deer, black beer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and mountain lion. Twenty-thousand elk, one of the largest herds in North America, roam the forest. You'll probably never see a mountain lion, but they're there. The last recorded spotting of another Rocky Mountain feline predator, the lynx, was made at White River National Forest.

Maroon Bells: Wildlife is one of the many reasons this is a superstar outdoor attraction. You'll find viewing sites for bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Forgot your binoculars? No problem, the site has outstanding spotting scope. Fall and winter are the best times for trying your luck at spotting the elk.

If you want to get off the beaten track, one check out these wildlife viewing spots...

Near Minturn: You'll find an elk-viewing site with spotting scopes at Minturn, right by Vail.

Near Dillon: Search out the osprey-viewing site at Dillon Reservoirs. The osprey perch on an old tree and make hunting excursions into the surrounding pond.

Near Rifle: Fravert Pond has excellent waterfowl viewing and other wetland associated birds. Frequent spottings here include Canada goose, mallards, teals, ring necked pheast, gadwalls, and American coots. Pick up a birding list at the ranger station. You'll find Fravert Pond near Rifle along I70. You'll find a pullover raptor-viewing spot all summer long at Divide Creek in the Rifle Ranger District. Drive south from Felt on Country Road 311, and keep on it after it turns into FDR 801. You'll come to an area in which you can see the entire drainage. Look up, and you'll see raptors hanging in the air.

Glenwood Canyon: Anybody who's spent time by an aquarium can appreciate the fascination of fish viewing. And what more idyllic aquarium than the high Rockies? If you're up for a pleasant but moderately strenuous hike, walk the Hanging Lake Trail near Glenwood Canyon. The trail transverses several interesting habitats, the highlight being the lake itself. The clear waters of the lake allow trout to be visible (sorry, no fishing allowed).

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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