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Colorado Wildlife to Watch for at C Lazy U

June 28, 2024

Wild animals abound here at C Lazy U Ranch. On a visit to our working dude ranch and resort, you’re likely to spot some of the Rocky Mountains’ most iconic creatures, both big and small.

Right at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, we share the same wealth of Colorado wildlife that makes RMNP one of the most visited and treasured parks in the United States. The park is home to an astounding 66 species of mammals and 260 kinds of birds, many of which the observant and patient guest can spot on the ranch. 

A heard of elk trek through the snow at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

The best way to see wildlife while visiting C Lazy U is to get out and explore. We’ve got more than 8,500 acres of preserved Colorado land to adventure through on foot, horseback, mountain bike, ski, or snowshoe. Our diverse ecosystem makes a perfect natural habitat for all the mountain animals residing in the region. Sometimes these special creatures will come right up to the ranch proper — perfect for a photo op or a simple, magical moment.

Here are a few of our favorite species for wildlife watching in the fields and forests just beyond our doorstep. Have your camera and binoculars ready — you never know when they’ll make an appearance.

Please remember to respect the wildlife and never approach them. These are wild animals and while you’re welcome to observe them, you should never try to touch, feed, or get too close to them. Wild animals are powerful and often unpredictable when provoked. 

Moose

Bull moose at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

How likely is it to spot a moose during your stay at C Lazy U? Well, let’s just say there’s no shortage of them in the area. Rocky Mountain National Park estimates that there are around 700 moose in the park area itself, mostly on the west side near Grand Lake and Granby, right in our neck of the woods. Spotting a great antlered moose will stop most guests in their tracks. You can’t help but marvel at their sheer size — these solitary giants stand over six feet tall, making them the largest members of the deer family. Majestic and cartoonish at the same time, they’re known to stop and stare right back at their human admirers. 

C Lazy U - Moose

Spotting a moose is unmistakable. Male (bull) moose have large antlers that are furry and slightly knobby. Their antlers alone can weigh up to 77 pounds with a span of 5 feet. Due to their immense size, moose can be highly dangerous, meaning they should never be approached — especially a mother moose with her calf.

Elk

Bull elk at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

Sometimes people confuse elk for huge deer, and while they are related, these majestic creatures are a species all their own. Elk are common throughout Colorado, and being right next to Rocky Mountain National Park makes C Lazy U’s property a prime location to spot elk, particularly large, mature ones. Their tan bodies with dark brown necks and legs are unmistakable, especially during the fall rut when males (bulls) produce a distinctive bugling call to attract females and establish dominance. This eerie, high-pitched sound is a hallmark of the season.

Like moose, a bull elk can weigh up to 700 pounds. The antlers on a mature bull can weigh as much as 40 pounds and can grow as fast as one inch each day during the summer. Rocky Mountain elk have the largest antlers of any elk, making those on display at C Lazy U even more impressive.

Fox

Fox at C Lazy U Ranch steps into a creek.

There’s something simply enchanting about seeing a red fox in the wintertime against the white snow of the ranch. Maybe it’s their quizzical expressions as they size us up, their black stocking legs, or their enormous, bushy tails. Their sleek bodies and cunning expressions make them easy to distinguish, especially at dawn and dusk when they’re most active, hunting small mammals and birds.

C Lazy U Guest Ranch - Fox

The trick is capturing a fox on camera, as these crafty creatures are often shy and skittish. Luckily, C Lazy U has a few foxes who like to roam around the ranch and don’t seem to mind posing for pictures!

Coyotes

Coyote at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

From a distance or at night, some confuse foxes for their canidae family relatives, coyotes. Wild sanctuaries like Rocky Mountain National Park and its surrounding areas are natural playgrounds for these wild dogs.

C Lazy U - Coyote

They’re more gray than foxes and more slender than wolves, and if you hear something howling and yipping in the night, you can bet it’s a coyote. We admire these beautiful creatures for their clever wits and their strong family bonds — traits C Lazy U is all about!

Deer

Mule deer at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

When riding through C Lazy U’s lands, it’s not unusual to spot a deer. Mule deer are a staple of the West, and that’s what you’ll find on our ranch. They’re named Mule deer because of their “mule like” ears, which can get pretty big — about 75% of the size of their heads!

Deer visiting C Lazy U Ranch

Look for forked antlers on males and their distinctive bounding gait. Sometimes you’ll even find these guys checking out what’s going on around the ranch cabins. Known for their incredible jumping ability, they can leap distances of up to 15 feet in a single bound, showcasing their famous agility and grace.

Antelope

Pronghorn antelope at C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado

While deer are fairly common in multiple parts of North America, it’s not every day that you get to see a wild antelope. While visiting C Lazy U, keep an eye out for pronghorn antelope — if you blink, you might miss them. Antelope are famous for their incredible speed, with the power to reach up to 60 miles per hour, making them the fastest land mammals in North America. These long-horned beauties are far more difficult to spot than elk and deer, so keep an eye out for their tan bodies, white rumps, and the unique black horns present on both males and females.

Golden Eagles

a golden eagle is perched on a tree near C Lazy U Ranch in Granby

Look to the sky and you might spot a breathtaking sight — an eagle on the wing, circling just below the clouds. Golden eagles are large birds of prey with dark brown plumage and a golden sheen on the back of their heads and necks. Their impressive wingspans, which can reach up to seven feet, make them a sight to behold as they soar high in the sky, scanning for prey. With strong talons and fast reflexes, these skilled hunters are capable of taking down prey as big as deer fawns. Their regal presence and aerial prowess  make them a highlight for bird watchers and a majestic addition to the wildlife at C Lazy U.

Wildlife Watching and Incredible Sights Await 

When you’re at the award-winning C Lazy U Ranch, be sure to keep an eye out for the abundance of wildlife — you never know what you might spot! From the majestic moose to the soaring golden eagle, the ranch offers a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate Colorado’s diverse and stunning fauna. Ready to see the wonders the authentic American West has to offer? 

Reserve your next family vacation today, and start planning an adventure that puts the wild in “Wild West.”  

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Ranch Blog

Wild animals abound here at C Lazy U Ranch. On a visit to our working dude ranch and resort, you’re likely to spot some of the Rocky Mountains’ most iconic creatures, both big and small. Right at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, we share the same wealth of Colorado wildlife that makes RMNP…

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From the Horse's Mouth

Brook and Alana were so wonderful and encouraging to our son. It was our visit visit to the ranch and his first time on a horse and they really took great care of him. Braley was such a joy as and so helpful on the daily. Mike was our first introduction to the ranch and through our visit he was so engaging and helpful, always had a greeting for us each day and if he didn't know the answer to our questions he made sure he would find out for us.

~ Dani B., 09-06-2021

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