Sign In
Wildlife Viewing
Wildlife Viewing



Events and Festivals

​​Events below are subject to change. Please check the event website or contact the host organization for the most current information.


  • Bald Eagle Watch with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies - Colorado Front Range (January - July)
    Volunteer with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to monitor Bald Eagles in Colorado! From February through July, participants monitor and collect data on nesting behavior and productivity and report any disturbances that may affect nesting eagles. The data helps CPW and other wildlife managers ensure continued healthy populations of Bald Eagles in Colorado. Training for the season will be held via zoom in late January. For more information and to register for the training, send an email to
  • Waterton Canyon Interpretive Project - Littleton (Year-round, Visit on your own time)
    CPW volunteers man a small cabin in Waterton Canyon year-round, primarily on busy weekends. Stop by to learn responsible wildlife viewing tips, check out local wildlife artifacts, and more!


  • Bald Eagle Festival - Barr Lake State Park (early-February)
    February is an excellent month for bald eagle viewing, including nesting pairs and many other wintering eagles. Eagles begin their courtship behavior in January, including tumbling in mid-air, nest building, and staying close together. In mid-February, and often coinciding with Valentine’s Day, bald eagles lay one to three eggs. Celebrate this unique time at Barr Lake by attending the Bald Eagle Festival at the nature center. A Parks pass is required to enter the park ($8 daily/$80 annual). For more information, see the Barr Lake page.
  • Bighorn Sheep Day Festival Colorado Springs (mid-February​)
    This free event celebrates the fact that our majestic state mammal is often seen within the Colorado Springs city limits! Find out more about the amazing Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep! Look for bighorns using binoculars and scopes, take a guided nature walk that focuses on bighorn sheep, hear presentations about bighorn sheep biology and the Rampart and Pikes Peak herds, take an auto tour through Queens Canyon, and experience a bighorn 'touch table'. Free refreshments, too.

    For more information, visit the website of the
    Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center (look under "Your Visit" and then "AnnualEvents"), or call 719/634-6666.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) - Nationwide (mid-February)
    From the GBBC website: "The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds." GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon.
  • High Plains Snow Goose Festival - Lamar (early-February)
    Numbering at least six million, lesser snow geese are considered to be the most abundant goose in the world! Four distinct populations are recognized. The lesser snow geese you will see at the High Plains Snow Goose Festival are part of the Western Central Flyway population that are on their way back to the Canadian Arctic where they nest. This flock winters in southeastern Colorado, New Mexico, the Texas panhandle and northern Mexico.

    The festival offers tours, educational programs, presentations, arts and crafts, and a banquet! Visit the festival's website.


  • Monte Vista Crane Festival Monte Vista (early-March)
    The festival hosts wildlife experts, local naturalists, and biologists who present educational talks, while flocks of dancing sandhills assemble in the neighboring farm fields, just east of town. Bus tours to the nearby refuge and adjacent farmlands provide visitors with the opportunity to view this spectacle up close and personal, with a knowledgeable local guide. Special tours feature raptor identification, sunset trips to view cranes and guided visits to viewing areas of the refuge for Crane Fest participants.

    For a listing of scheduled workshops, registration information, and more, go to the
    festival's website or call 719/852-2731.
  • Eckert Crane Days - Eckert/Delta County (early March - mid-April)
    Audubon members (on site 8:30 am-Noon) provide spotting scopes and information for visitors while observing migrating sandhill cranes. The event is planned for each morning in anticipation of observing the birds during their morning lift-off. Bluebird boxes will also be available for a $20 donation. The organizer is Black Canyon Audubon Society.
  • Greater Prairie-chicken Viewing - Wray (late-March to mid-April)
    Each year, visitors from all over the world come to Wray, Colorado to see the sun come up over the grasslands while watching prairie-chicken males dance a courtship dance, and listening to their 'booming' courtship calls. Since greater prairie-chicken leks in northeastern Colorado are located on private property, guided tours are made possible through a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the Wray Chamber of Commerce, the East Yuma County Historical Society, the Wray Museum, and local landowners.

    To register for a tour, and for more information, visit the Greater Prairie-chicken Viewing Tours website. Reservations are required. Register early as available reservations go quickly!

    Each tour includes an evening educational program presented by CPW staff at the Wray Museum, the guided field trip, and a ranch-style breakfast.


  • Greater Sage-grouse Viewing - Walden (mid to late April)
    Reservations and a fee are required through North Park Chamber of Commerce. One or two guided viewing tours are offered; tours have limited participation, so it’s best to register early. Each tour begins the evening before the viewing trip, with a meal and a short educational program. Participants meet before dawn the next morning for the trip to the sage-grouse lek. Tour information should be listed on the Chamber of Commerce website as the event nears.

  • Karval Mountain Plover Festival - Karval (late-April)
    Who should go to this festival? Anyone wanting a first-hand, guided experience to see shortgrass prairie wildlife, including mountain plovers, burrowing owls and swift foxes. Visit the festival's website or the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies website (under Events) for more information, the schedule of events, registration information and directions. (Karval is about 75 miles east of Colorado Springs.)


  • Ute Mountain - Mesa Verde Birding Festival - Cortez (mid-May)
    A four day event. Take tours of local sites, including Mesa Verde, Denny Lake, McElmo Canyon, Ute Mountain tribal Park, and many more; hear presentations about protecting birds, backyard feeders; attend a bird-oriented art show; learn bird songs! Opening reception, guest speakers, and some meals provided. For further information, visit the festival's website. The website contains complete schedules for each day and a registration form.

  • Welcome Back Turkey Vulture Day - Castlewood Canyon State Park, Franktown (mid-May)
    Nothing heralds the return of spring to Castlewood Canyon State Park more than the sight of turkey vultures circling high above in search of food. To honor this annual natural event, come join us for Welcome Back Turkey Vulture Day! Castlewood Canyon, located five miles south of Franktown, boasts the largest summer roost of turkey vultures in Colorado, with up to 100 birds some seasons.

    Enjoy activities for all ages, including: a TV Dinner (hamburgers and hotdogs), face painting and a storyteller. Naturalist-led hikes will take visitors to spots where one can get a better view of these majestic birds. Learn how TV’s employ the 3 P’s to survive and help us humans lead better lives. Curious why they are bald and fly “wobbly?” Come to Welcome Back Turkey Vulture Day to answer this and more!

  • ​​​​World Migratory Bird Day - Statewide (early-May)
    Not an event for Colorado exclusively, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is celebrated worldwide, with events in Colorado sometimes associated with it or occurring at the same time. For details about local events, or to learn how you can organize and register your own celebration, visit the World Migratory Bird Day website.

  • Annual Pikes Peak Birding & Nature Festival - Prairie to Peak - Colo. Springs (mid-May)
    Spring migration in Colorado is often full of surprises so the festival promises to be a special event. The Cheyenne Cañon Hummingbird Experience is also now part of this f​estival! Field trips, seminars, tours and events are happening throughout El Paso, Pueblo and Teller Counties. Be sure to visit the website​ to see the diversity of opportunities available to celebrate everything birds and nature!

    On Saturday evening, enjoy the "Birds and Brews" happy hour with free appetizers, drinks and more!

    Festival field trips will visit migration hotspots such as Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Regional Parks,
    Lake Pueblo State Park, Manitou Lakes, Chico Basin Ranch, Pinello Ranch and other locations searching for common and unexpected birds alike. Registration is required for some of the events.

    For more information, see the Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival website.

  • Bent on Birding - John Martin State Park (mid-late May)
    See Historic Petroglyphs on Private Ranches & Look for Piping Plovers at John Martin Reservoir State Park. A weekend of tours include historical experiences at homesteads and petroglyphs on private ranches, museums and more. Birdwatching features piping plovers, least terns, migrants and black rail with expert guides. Bent County is one of the top places for birding in the entire state with nearly 400 species on the County Bird List. For more information, view the flier and visit the May section of the Las Animas Chamber of Commerce Community Calendar.


  • Mt. Evans Wildlife Viewing - Summit Lake Parking Area on Mt. Evans (June - Labor Day) Colorado Parks and Wildlife partners with City of Denver Mountain Parks and the US Forest Service to provide alpine-related education for visitors to the mountain. Stop by and visit our dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers as they help you spot the animals living in the harsh land above the trees! Check out wildlife artifacts, see high-altitude wildlife, and learn how to recreate responsibly on the sensitive alpine tundra. For more information, visit Summit Lake or Mt. Evans Recreation Area.
  • Orient Mine Bat Viewing - San Luis Valley, Villa Grove (June - September)
    At least once in your life you must experience this extraordinary event. An approximate one-hour hike will take you to the abandoned mine where you will see nearly 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats emerge! The Orient Mine is the summer home of the northernmost and largest bachelor colony of Mexican free-tailed bats known in North America. Call 719-256-4315 or visit the website for visitor information.

  • Marmot Festival - Staunton State Park, Pine (late-June)
    Celebrate the Staunton Park mascot, the yellow-bellied marmot. Visitors can enjoy guided hikes, viewing opportunities, kids’ activities, learn to rock climb, and more!


  • Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - Crested Butte (July)
    Visit the wildflower capital of Colorado for guided walks and other tours, photography classes, workshops and more! For more information see the Wildflower Festival website.
  • Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day – Grand Junction (last Saturday of July)
    Perfect for the entire family! Take a scenic drive on Grand Mesa and learn about moose. Activities include: scavenger hunt and prizes for kids, touch table with hides and tracks, programs on moose viewing and safety, moose biology and telemetry demonstrations. Join us at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center off of Highway 65, 20090 Baron Lake Drive.


  • Colorado Day (first Monday in August)
    Colorado State Parks will celebrate Colorado Day by offering free entrance to all Colorado State Parks. Colorado Day was created by the state legislature to mark the anniversary of statehood, granted in 1876 by President Ulysses S. Grant. Free entrance to the state parks is an annual Colorado Day tradition.
  • Moose Festival - State Forest State Park (August)
    Come by the Moose Visitor Center and join in the festivities! The moose capital of Colorado hosts a variety of moose-themed events perfect for the whole family. A state park pass is required if you enter the park, however, all activities at Moose Fest are free!


  • Yampa Valley Crane Festival - Steamboat Springs (late-August to early-September)
    The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The festival includes daily crane viewings, expert speakers, live raptors, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more.

    Many events are free and do not require registration. Certain activities, including guided crane viewing shuttles and events with limited space, will require advance registration and a nominal fee. These events will be noted in the annual schedule. Be sure to register early as we expect these events to fill quickly. Register and view the schedule and other event details on the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition website. For more information, please call 970-276-1933 or write to

  • Fall Birding Festival at Barr Lake - Barr Lake State Park, Brighton (early-September)
    Fly over to Barr Lake State Park to celebrate the fall bird migration, an experience worth sharing with others. Be entertained at this festive community event filled with food, fun, and lore—something for everyone. Plan for a day packed with free food and activities. The Fall Birding Festival is free, but a valid parks pass is required for each vehicle that enters the park.

    For more information about the Fall Birding Festival, call
    Barr Lake Nature Center at 303-659-6005 or send an e-mail to
  • Living History Days at Staunton State Park (early-September)
    Meet at the Group Picnic Area (10am-3pm) to view the local historic group's displays and try square dancing! From there, embark on a treasure hunt to find the Reynold's Gang's gold! The treasure hunt meanders through the historic Cabin District and ends at the original Staunton Cabin (35min. hike). Folks dressed in historic garb will greet visitors with cowboy music and Johnny cakes with lemonade. Enjoy demonstrations such as a Mountain Man campsite, trapping and hunting, medicinal and edible plants, as well as games, crafts and blacksmithing.

  • Annual Celebrating Bird Migration - Waneka Lake and Greenlee Wildlife Preserve, Lafayette
    Explore the wonderful world of birds in a beautiful place! See a live hawk and other birds of prey up close and view birds in the wild through spotting scopes and binoculars. Learn about migration, marshes and the role avian friends play in our lives. Enjoy art projects and a scavenger hunt.
    The 1/3 mile walking path between the parking area and Greenlee Wildlife Preserve will feature several local organizations with great activities and displays to offer! This free, public event is suitable for all ages and will also feature an array of fine door prizes.

    This program begins at the Waneka Lake East parking lot, where Emma St. ends at Caria Drive in Lafayette. For more information, contact Martin Ogle at or 720-612-0506.
  • Estes Park Elk Festival - Estes Park (late-September/early-October)
    A two-day festival, as described on the event's website: "Elk Fest offers visitors a chance to view elk during the rutting season in the wild, as well as expand their knowledge of elk. Learn more about elk, their habitats, and how to observe them in the wild. Held in Bond Park, located in downtown Estes Park, Elk Fest will offer bugling competitions, educational areas, seminars, music by the Elktones, Mountain Man Rendezvous, Native American storytelling and music, guided elk viewing tours, and vendors that offer art from oils and pastels, hand made elk-ivory jewelry, scrimshawed antler knives, elk antler lamps and chandeliers, elk hide pillows, silver and gold jewelry, and elk antlers." Find out more from the Estes Park Elk Fest website, including schedules and costs (for elk viewing tours), or write to the event organizers.


  • Estes Park Elk Festival - Estes Park (late-September/early-October)
    A two-day festival, as described on the event's website: "Elk Fest offers visitors a chance to view elk during the rutting season in the wild, as well as expand their knowledge of elk. Learn more about elk, their habitats, and how to observe them in the wild. Held in Bond Park, located in downtown Estes Park, Elk Fest will offer bugling competitions, educational areas, seminars, music by the Elktones, Mountain Man Rendezvous, Native American storytelling and music, guided elk viewing tours, and vendors that offer art from oils and pastels, hand made elk-ivory jewelry, scrimshawed antler knives, elk antler lamps and chandeliers, elk hide pillows, silver and gold jewelry, and elk antlers." Find out more from the Estes Park Elk Fest website, including schedules and costs (for elk viewing tours), or write to the event organizers.

  • Annual HOOTenanny Owl & Music Festival - Chatfield Audubon Center, Littleton (early October)
    10am - 2pm: Join us for our largest family event of the year and the only owl festival in the Denver-Metro area! Discover the secret life of owls through live owl demos from Nature's Educators, crafts, activities, and interactive tables from nonprofit partners like Colorado Parks & Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. For more information or to register, visit the Denver Audubon. Also see this printable flyer.

  • Chatfield Big Sit! - Chatfield State Park, Littleton (mid-October)
    The Big Sit! is like a "Big Day", or a bird-a-thon, in that the object is to add up as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. The difference lies in the area limitation from which you can observe. This is a free event, open to everyone! Some people have called it a "tailgate party for birders". There are Big Sit! circles all over the world, including Guatemala, India, the Netherlands, England, Vietnam and New Zealand. (Description from the Bird Watcher's Digest Web site.) See the Bird Watcher's Digest website, the Denver Field Ornithologists website, or the Chatfield State Park website for more information.
  • "Cranes for Kids" Festival - Monte Vista (mid-October)
    Kids, bring your parents to Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy the fresh fall air, migrating Sandhill cranes, food, fun and educational activities. The festival includes a barbeque lunch, a puppet show, watchable wildlife workshops, nest hunts, bird migration games, learning about the water cycle and horse drawn wagon rides. For additional information, contact the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex at 719-589-4021.


  • Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival - Georgetown (second Saturday in November)
    Celebrate Colorado's 'state mammal' - the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The Town of Georgetown and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife offer opportunities to watch and learn about one of Colorado’s oldest bighorn sheep herds. Plus, speakers and short wildlife educational programs for the whole family! Artisans and shop owners in Georgetown will showcase their wildlife-related art, gifts, crafts and other goods. Visit the Festival's website for more information.


  • Christmas Bird Counts- Various locations (mid-December to early-January)
    More than 50,000 observers participate each year in this all-day census of early-winter bird populations. The results of their efforts are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. Simply put, the Christmas Bird Count, or "CBC", is citizen science in action.

    Visit the Audubon website for more information and to find your local Christmas Bird Count contacts.

  • Chatfield Christmas Bird Count - Chatfield State Park (mid-December)
    Birders, nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers across the western hemisphere participate in this annual count, which started more than a century ago. Sponsored by the Denver Field Ornithologists and the National Audubon Society, the count includes 24 official count areas, including four within Chatfield State Park. Today, the Christmas Bird Counts are vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the western hemisphere. The information, all generated by volunteers, has become a crucial part of the federal government’s database for natural history monitoring. Please contact the area leader to register and receive site specific information: Chatfield State Park, Joey Kellner, 303-978-1748.

​​​ ​


Wildlife Viewing Events

If no events are listed below please check back later.​


Summer Shuttle Tours
Sunday, May 14

The Summer weekend shuttle rides are starting Mother's Day, May 14th. Our volunteer naturalist will take you on a tour of the perimeter trail to the Gazebo Boardwalk and back.

Kids Overnight Adventure Camp at Barr Lake
Saturday, June 10

Take advantage of a rare opportunity to spend the night in the park. Kids will enjoy a grilled dinner, a children's yoga class, play games, work in teams, exercise their nocturnal skills in observing wildlife on a night hike, sleep under the stars (in their own tent), and relish a hearty breakfast with new friends.

Sunday, June 11

Stop by, and I guarantee you'll learn something new.

Jr. Ranger Program - Birds and Binoculars
Friday, June 16

Children 7-12 years old with a parent or guardian are invited to become Junior Park Rangers by participating in a program that focuses on bird identification and how to use binoculars.

"FLORA & FAUNA" walk
Saturday, June 17

Come hear the stories of the plants and animals of the park.

Sunday, June 18

Stop by, and I guarantee you'll learn something new.

"FLORA & FAUNA" walk
Saturday, June 24

Come hear the stories of the plants and animals of the park.

Sunday, June 25

Stop by, and I guarantee you'll learn something new.

Colorado Birding Trail

The Colorado Birding Trail is a major nature tourism initiative to promote responsible outdoor recreation and conservation of Colorado’s natural resources. 

Working with private landowners, the Trail helps promote travel to agricultural landscapes, contributing to a diversified income for rural economies. The Birding Trail links these private sites with public parks and open spaces, creating a network of areas visitors can observe birds and other wildlife, as well as archaeological and paleontological treasures.


Wildlife Viewing Guides

Download our wildlife viewing tips and checklist to use on your next wildlife viewing adventure.

Find a Viewing Location Near You

Brown Wildlife Viewing Sign Select a pinpoint for a description of the location and wildlife viewing information. There are over 200 sites to choose from. Look for the brown wildlife viewing signs at (most) location destinations. 

These sites are also published on the official "Colorado State Vacation Guide".

A valid hunting or fishing license is required for everyone 18 or older accessing any State Wildlife Area or CPW-leased State Trust Land, effective July 1, 2020. For more information, read the frequently asked questions. An annual hunting or annual fishing license can be purchased through CPW authorized sales agents, by phone (1-800-244-5613), or online at CPWShop.