Wildside Weekender

COLORADO: Antlers & Aspen Rocky Mountain NP



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2024 :: September 29 - October 2



From: $2,650 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Denver, CO (DIA)


6-8 Participants


2024: 8 Spaces Available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of COLORADO: Antlers & Aspen Rocky Mountain NP

  • Travel to the breathtakingly beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park and find yourself swimming in a sea of golden aspen during the magical fall elk rut. 
  • This four-day excursion will introduce you to a vocal extravaganza as bull elk control their harams in some of the most beautiful landscapes that the west has to offer. 
  • Roam with former NANPA president and resident photographer and guide Dawn Wilson and Beyond the Wild Podcast host Ron Hayes.  The pair will provide you with opportunities to photograph behaviors unique to the elk rut, the incredible night skies of the park in the new moon and the aspen riddled landscapes located near Estes Park, CO. 
  • While the elk and aspens are our primary focus moose, big horn sheep, pika, yellowbelly marmots, and Stellar’s Jays are frequently observed.  Opportunities for bobcats, black bears, fox and the elusive Abert’s Squirrel are a possibility

Description of COLORADO: Antlers & Aspen Rocky Mountain NP

Rising before dawn, we will travel to mountain locations in order to capture the famous Rocky Mountain Sunrises as we are greeted ear piercing bugle of the bull elk. We will spend the first hours of the day with the elk in hopes of securing images of the “bugle breath” as their rut warmed lungs exhale into the frosty morning air leaving the impression that these majestic ungulates do in fact breathe fire. As the light rises we will move up the mountain, weather permitting, to find the parks smaller and cuter inhabitants the pika. We will spend the middle of the day back at the lodge backing up, downloading, and critiquing images prior to moving back to the park for another evening of rut activity. You will have your breath taken away by the views and grow weary from the never-ending opportunity to capture the grandeur of the Colorado mountainscapes.

Night brings options of its own as the new moon provides photographic challenges with the the milky way aglow high atop the 14,000 foot peaks that surround the park. The explosion of color in the fall creates a surprisingly gorgeous foreground for astro photography prior to our settling in for the night. Opportunities will abound for this game and target rich environment.

This workshop will be moderately physically demanding and you should plan accordingly with footwear and gear. Participants will want to allow for opportunities for 14-600mm and two bodies are recommended.

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Estes Park and have welcome reception

Days 2 & 3: Full days of photography in park

Day 4: Photograph in morning, depart for home mid-morning.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive via I-25 or Denver International Airport (DIA) where you will check in to the accommodations and explore Estes Park in the evening and enjoy a diverse collection of dining options. Arrive and check in after 4pm on 9/28/24, you will meet your leaders and we will meet for a social hour at 7:30, after dinner to get you acquainted with the schedule for the week.

Day 2 & 3: We will depart for the park at approximately 5:45 to locate elk and prepare for the morning shoot.  These will be full days of shooting and temperatures can vary widely each day.

Day 4: At the completion of shooting mid-morning we will return to the lodge for check-out. A shuttle will be arranged if necessary for those returning to Denver International Airport (DIA)


Cost is $2,650 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Denver, CO (Airport code DIA.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

The tour cost includes lodging, guide services, transportation from Estes Park to Rocky Mountain National Park each day, park entry fees, and commercial permit fees.

The tour cost does not include transportation from Denver International Airport to Estes Park, meals, tips, drinks, or trip insurance.


There are a number of shops and entertainment options in Estes Park. Guests who wish to shop should be aware that options are endless.


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $480 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes standard hotels.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

This trip will involve some walking at altitude on good trails. Due to the altitude this trip would be rated as a 3 out of 5. We will walk but we will stay together as a group on the trail system. Our primary mode of transport will be vehicles however make sure that you have gore-tex hiking boots and bring warm layering options and gloves that will allow for camera functionality.

Unless you plan to video I would recommend a monopod be carried by all.  Camera gear should be able to shoot at 600mm on the long end and zooms are more highly recommended than primes as the subjects will vary greatly in proximity as well as size.

Come with an open mind, a willing spirit and leave your ego at home.  We will have a lot of fun on this adventure but it is critical that you come knowing that your leaders will put you in the best position for success, even if you can’t see it immediately.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map