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Wildlife Viewing
Wildlife Viewing

​​​​​Yampa Valley Crane Festival

Girl with decorated crane head cookie

August 31 – September 3, 2017 in Steamboat Springs and Hayden, CO

Please join us for the 6th annual Crane Festival. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) highlighted events include:

Friday, September 1: Noon–12:45 p.m.

“Monitoring Breeding Greater Sandhill Cranes in Northwest Colorado” will be presented by Liza Rossi, Bird Conservation Coordinator, CPW, in Library Hall. The presentation includes what we know about the breeding population of the Rocky Mountain Greater Sandhill Crane in northwestern Colorado and some history, as well as, the current status of the species here in Colorado. She will briefly describe a recent CPW study to develop some new methods to monitor the Greater Sandhill Crane in the Yampa Valley. 

Friday, September 1: 5:30-8:00 p.m.

​Family activities, dessert, and crane viewing at the Yampavian Ranch in Hayden, CO. Girl dissecting owl pelletAdults must be accompanied by at least 1 child. Activities include educational games, a campfire sing-along, and crane​viewing. ​​Dessert and beverages provided. Please bring a camp chair. 

**Advance registration and $5/person non-refundable fee required. Children 10 and under are free.**

Sunday, September 3: 11:00 a.m. – Noon & 12:15–1:15 p.m.

Owl pellet workshop for children in Library Hall. Find out what owls eat and how they process their food. 

**FREE, but advance registration is required. Workshop is limited to 12 children (minimum age of 4 years) and accompanying adults. **

Most events are free, but some activities, including crane viewing shuttles and other events with limitedBoy next to life-size crane cuttout
​space, will require advance registration and a nominal registration fee. These events are noted in the detailed schedule​. Online registration for all activities opened on July 1. There will be no refunds after August 15. Registration closes at 12 noon MDT on August 29, 2017.

​For speakers and workshop leaders, registration, accommodations, festival venues, a photo contest, crane viewing information and more, see the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition website​ (note the 2017 Festival dropdown menu on the main horizontal navigation). 

Mountain Biking, Road Biking, and Family Biking suggestions.​​​Buy A parks pass..​​​More outdoor recreation opportunities.


Amphitheater: Jeopardy in the Park
Sunday, August 20

Test your knowledge on wildlife, geology, flowers, and animal facts with Naturalist Penny. Have fun while learning Mueller trivia. There will be prizes!

General Nature Hike: School Pond
Wednesday, August 23

Join Naturalist Karleen in exploring all the beauty that the montane forest has to offer! If you are new to Colorado, just visiting, or looking to gain knowledge of basic wildlife, trees, and wildflowers, this is the hike for you! The sun is especially unforgiving at 9,000+ feet so be sure to wear sunscreen/hat, and bring plenty of water.

Hike: Elk Meadow
Thursday, August 24

Examine tracks and signs of the animals that live in Mueller State Park as you hike Elk Meadow with Naturalist Penny. This unique trail is a moderate 2 miles.

Hike: Turkey Cabin Overlook (west side)
Friday, August 25

We will take the 7 mile route going straight out Black Bear into the Dome rock area. This is an out and back hike with nice views with Naturalist Cindi. Allow 4 hours. Bring plenty of water! Wear sunscreen/hat.

Hike: Cahill Loop
Friday, August 25

Join Naturalists Jeremy and Sylvia on this moderate 2.5 mile hike, exploring the flora and fauna of Mueller all the way. Bring water and wear sunscreen.

Hike: Buffalo Rock
Saturday, August 26

Join Naturalist Nancy for this beautiful 5 mile hike through aspen and pine forest, meadows, and see Cheesman Ranch and Cahill Cabin. Bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen/hat.

Amphitheater: Friends in the Night
Saturday, August 26

Learn about the facts and myths surrounding the only flying mammal. They may have a face only their mother could love but they actually are very beneficial to man. Come and learn about these interesting creatures. Dress warm.

Sunday Morning Birdwalk
Sunday, August 27

Come take a peaceful morning hike with a park naturalist along the Grassland Trail! We'll look (and listen!) for summer resident birds along the easy, 1/2 mile trail. Meet at the information kiosk next to Heinricy parking lot southwest of the campground. Bring water, sunscreen, and good walking shoes. Free and no registration required.

​ Wildlife Viewing Guides​

​​​bighorn sheep and mountain goat brochure cover ​

Bighorn Sheep
& Mountain Goats


​​Deer & Elk


cover of grouse, prairie-chickens and ptarmigan brochure

Grouse, Prairie​-Chickens
& Ptarmigan


Brown Wildlife Viewing SignSelect a pin point for a description of the location and wildlife viewing information. There are over 200 sites to choose from. These sites are also published on the official Map to Colorado. Order yours today (included with the Vacation Guide). Look for the brown wildlife viewing signs at (most) location destinations. Download our wildlife viewing tips and checklist ​to use on your next wildlife viewing adventure.