Summer vacation season is just around the corner and many families are planning a trip to the great state of Colorado. The soaring mountain ranges are capped in snow, yet as the elevation level lowers the mountain side is alive with countless wildflowers.

Here the sky seems somehow more pristine. The blue almost hurts your eyes. You feel compelled to get out of the car and experience the power and beauty of the natural surroundings. And when you do, you won’t be alone. Colorado is home to a great variety of wildlife. With careful attention to the rules of the state parks and refuges you can enjoy spending time near these majestic creatures. Just keep in mind at all times that these are wild animals and this is not a zoo. Respect the animals and give them plenty of space – after all, you are visiting their home.

Here is a list of great places to enjoy Colorado wildlife.

Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge -In early spring, just before ice trickles into snowmelt, up to 100 bald eagles can be seen feasting on fish.

Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge – A prime area for viewing Canada geese, mallards, redheads, canvasbacks, green-winged and cinnamon teal, ruddy ducks and common mergansers.

Barr Lake State Park – The lake attracts an array of waterfowl and water birds, including geese, white pelicans, grebes, coots and numerous species of duck.

Bonny Lake State Park – In the spring and summer, the area provides great opportunities for viewing newly hatched wood ducklings.

Estes Valley (Front Range) – Watch for bighorn sheep along Fall River Road between Estes Park and the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lake Pueblo State Park and State Wildlife Area (Southeast Region) – Mammals, including beavers, muskrats, fox squirrels and red foxes are year-round residents.

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