Around Estes: Lily Lake & Moose Mania

Just about 4 miles up the road from our campground is the beautiful Lily Lake, just on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). We have been there a number of times during our time in Estes Park, to hike the lake loop, the Lily Ridge Trail, or have a picnic lunch, but I have not written about it since this post early in our stay. Recently, we had heard about several bull moose sightings at Lily Lake, and a bull moose was still on our must-see wildlife list. ๐Ÿ™‚ย On a recent evening, we took our camp chairs and went on a moose hunt.


Ducklings busily feeding on the shoreline


Panorama of our view looking northeast from the walkway, Twin Sisters to the right

We set our chairs and admired the peaceful, uncrowded lake. During the day, this lake literally swarms with people. What a wonderful difference in the evening! An RMNP volunteer with a very long lens on her camera came by to chat and let us know that the bull moose in question had been hanging around the aspens on the east side of the lake for about three weeks, and typically showed himself around 7:30 or so each evening.

The fact that it was already after 8 pm did not discourage us. The scene was so beautiful, we simply soaked in the views and waited.


Panorama looking north with Lily Ridge to the left


A Lily Ridge reflection postcard ๐Ÿ™‚

A brief video looking southwest across the wetlands south of the lake.

A family came by wondering what we were looking for, and we told them what the park volunteer had shared. We chatted for a bit, then they headed back toward the parking lot. A few minutes later, we saw them pointing into the aspens on the east side of the lake!

We hurried over, and lo and behold, it was a bull moose! They had heard rustling in the trees, and spied the moose ripping away at the foliage! We all gathered at the edge of the walkway, straining to see Bullwinkle!

He was still fairly far away, and partially hidden by the trees. This is grainy, but the best of the early photos.


He was ripping branches off and devouring them quickly, and he actually ate a hole in the trees so we could see him better!


Magnificent Bullwinkle!


I swear, he was looking right at me!

And a quick video right before he disappeared into the brush.

It was thrilling to see Bullwinkle in his element…however distant the photos. Especially since we were only 4 miles from home! We had been waiting to see a bull moose, despite having seen several cows and even calves. Our wildlife checklist is complete!

Please join us again soon for more fun Around Estes.


11 thoughts on “Around Estes: Lily Lake & Moose Mania

    • Thanks, Richard! The lake was just gorgeous that evening. We have only seen moose at a distance, and far from the road, so we haven’t seen them as a hazard yet! Hope that we don’t…especially when on the bikes. :-O


  1. If you have time, the Brainard Lakes area about an hour south is a great place to see moose. Iโ€™d recommend the Lake Isabelle hikeโ€“one of our favorites. Also, the Kawuneeche Valley on the other side of Trail Ridge Road is well-known for moose sightings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We did do the Lake Isabelle hike back in early June and it was lovely! We actually visited Brainard twice in a few days, but it was unbelievably crowded, with a wait to get in the park. Unfortunately we are not crack-of-dawn people so we didn’t see a single moose. Rangers said you need to be there 6ish to see them. We have seen several moose cows, and even glimpsed a set of twin calves in the Kawuneeche Valley! And they seem to be out at more reasonable times of day over there! ๐Ÿ˜


      • Interesting–I’ve heard that Brainard can get crowded, but it hasn’t been bad when we’ve been there. And we saw several moose lounging around Long Lake at mid-day. We’ve been to Lily Lake dozens of times at all hours of the day and have never seen one there, so who knows? They are such big animals and the racks on the bulls are truly impressive.

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      • This summer has been packed at all the hiking areas. We can’t wait for school to start and all the tourists to go home! You are right! The only time you can predict where wildlife will be is when you’re looking at them! ๐Ÿคฃ The bull moose are truly magnificent!!!


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