Summit County Lodging for the Wildlife Enthusiast in You!

Posted by: admin September 11th, 2014

Few places in North America offer such a bounty of wildlife-watching opportunities as Colorado … specifically in Summit County. And what better place to call home base for all of your wildlife watching excursions than the Frisco Lodge – your premier Summit County lodging?

Colorado is truly nature’s playground with a great diversity of habitat and terrain that supports creatures big and small in an incredibly delicate balance. Every year, thousands upon thousands of visitors come to Summit County with hopes and desires of seeing some of the beautiful creatures that call it home. Even a short walk in the woods outside of our Summit County lodging will uncover definitive signs of life in the forest, but you may never see the creatures that made them. Some, like the elk and deer, are readily seen, while others such as the lynx and mountain lion are difficult to find and even harder to photograph.

Here is a list of some of the more famous animals to be found within the vicinity of our Summit County lodging, and some of the more popular places to catch a glimpse of what you’re looking for.

Summit County LynxCarnivores

  • Black Bear – After the disappearance of the grizzly bear in Colorado, the black bear now reigns supreme as the largest of our carnivores. They can be found in most of the forests and meadows of the mountains around Summit County.
  • Mountain Lion – Closely related to the Cougar and the Puma, this impressive animal hunts deer and other prey. Sightings are rare, but one could be lucky enough to hear their distinctive, long-range scream.
  • Lynx – The lynx, a large cat, disappeared from Summit County in the early 1970’s, but was successfully reintroduced in 1999. One of the more elusive creatures in the area, a footprint is typically all that a visitor might get to see.

Bighorn SheepLarge Mammals

  • Bighorn Sheep – Colorado’s state mammal, the bighorn sheep is plentiful around the area and can even be seen on the mountainsides surrounding Interstate-70. The rams have distinctive horns that coil and curl, forming nearly 10% of their body weight.
  • Elk – The elk is the largest deer natively found in Colorado. These large animals can be seen in nearly all mountain meadows and forests. Elk usually travel in herds which can range anywhere from 100 to 1,000 Elk.
  • Deer – With both mule deer and whitetails abundant, they can often be seen occupying a habitat that overlaps with residential areas. There is no shortage of deer in Colorado, so I’d be extremely surprised if you didn’t see one.
  • Moose – The moose was introduced to Colorado in the late 1970’s. Their numbers are small in Summit County, but look for them in forest wetlands.
  • Mountain Goat – Artificially introduced in 1947 to develop hunting opportunities, mountain goats compete directly with the bighorn sheep on the high, steep mountainsides to provide protection from predators. These goats are most popular around Quandary Peak, an excellent day hike outside Breckenridge – approximately 30 minutes from the Frisco Lodge’s Summit County lodging.

Snowshoe HareSmall Mammals

  • Beaver – These rodents are incredibly influential in their habitat as their ponds provide wetlands for many other species. Look for dams and dens that they build from the surrounding forests.
  • Snowshoe Hare – Typically hard to find, you will most likely see their prints crossing new snow, but patience is a virtue as this is definite evidence that these rabbit-like creatures are living among us.

Bald EagleBirds of Prey

  • Bald Eagle – The United States’ national symbol, North America’s largest bird of prey is found along the rivers of Colorado, high up in trees. Keep an eye out for their distinctive white heads.
  • Golden Eagle – These birds live higher in the mountains than the bald eagle, where their small and medium-sized prey tend to live. So, an invigorating hike might just pay off.
  • Great Horned Owl – Found throughout the state, these nocturnal hunters have large eyes and tufts of feathers that mark their “horns.” A night jaunt might provide a glimpse of this owl.
  • Peregrine Falcon – Possibly the fastest creature on earth, the peregrine falcon is often hard to find unless you catch them in a hungry mood as they swoop in on their prey at over 200mph! Look for these falcons around cliffs and bluffs overlooking water.

While this is not necessarily an exhaustive list, rejoice in the fact that one could both take a short walk from our Summit County lodging to catch a glimpse of a deer, beaver or moose, or travel a short distance and possibly see a mountain lion, bighorn sheep or bald eagle. Whatever your pleasure, just know that the friendly staff at the Frisco Lodge will assist you in providing resources and knowledge about that particular wildlife opportunity you are looking for. Our Summit County lodging is in the center of it all!