Rocky extends closure times during elk rut season |

Rocky extends closure times during elk rut season

Sky-Hi News staff report
Elk graze at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Robert Mendoza / Sky-Hi News

Citing a larger number of visitors approaching the animals, Rocky Mountain National Park has lengthened its annual closures for elk rut season.

Peaking from from mid-September to mid-October, the elk rut season is one of the more popular times at the park as bull elk call out and fight to mate with cows.

Beginning Sept. 1, Rocky will put annual closures in place for travel on foot or horse off established roadways or designated trails from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m., according to park officials. In previous years, these closures were until 7 a.m.

The extended closure time has been attributed to a significant increase in visitors approaching elk over the last two years when the morning meadow closures lifted.

These closures will continue through Oct. 31 and are effective in Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow.

Fishing in the Fall River, Thompson River or Colorado River within the posted areas remain the same as previous years. 

Park officials said the purpose of the closures is to prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during their fall mating period and to enhance visitor elk viewing opportunities. Officials also warned that elk calling and the use of spotlights or vehicle headlights for spotting wildlife is prohibited in Rocky Mountain National Park.  

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