Wildlife Tours in the Sierra Madre Mountains | Three Forks Ranch

Activities


Wildlife Tours

Summer / Fall / Winter

Wildlife Tours

Bask in Nature

Nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains, Three Forks Ranch is a sanctuary for thousands of species of wildlife, birds, trees, and flowers. Our wildlife tours are hands-down the best way to experience both the beauty of the property and the diversity of flora and fauna that call it home.

We have 2 types of wildlife tours — on foot and behind the wheel! Our hiking tours get you up close and personal with Three Forks Ranch, as you travel in the footsteps of humans who called this land home for millennia while listening to the bull elk bugle and the birds sing. Our Polaris Ranger tours enable you to survey the vastness of Three Forks; our geological diversity lends itself to stunning vistas around each turn.

Three Forks Guide Dave Clements compiled this list of all the animals our guests may see on our wildlife tours:
  • Mule deer
  • Whitetail deer
  • Elk
  • Pronghorn antelope
  • Moose
  • Red fox
  • Coyote
  • Black bear
  • Mountain lion
  • Bobcat
  • Muskrat
  • Beaver
  • Mink
  • Ermine
  • Badger
  • Wyoming ground squirrel
  • Pine squirrel
  • Gold mantle ground squirrel
  • Chipmunk
  • Sandhill crane
  • Blue heron
  • Kingfisher
  • Magpie
  • Raven
  • Crow
  • Numerous waterfowl
  • Numerous songbirds
  • Dusky (blue) grouse
  • Sharptail grouse
  • Sage grouse
  • Bald eagle
  • Golden eagle
  • Numerous hawks and falcons
  • Cattle of all ages

No matter what tour mode you choose, do not forget your camera!
(And if you do, no worries — your guide has one!)

Wildlife Tour

Elk

Native Americans call elk “wapiti,” meaning “light-colored deer.” While related to deer, elk are much larger — the bulls range in weight from 650 to 900 pounds and the cows 450-550. Elk were once found across much of North America but now take refuge in more remote locations. Northwestern Colorado boasts one of the largest and healthiest elk populations in the world — and Three Forks Ranch happens to be right in the middle of it. Three Forks Ranch’s free-ranging elk herd swells to nearly 6,000 head in the Fall.

Pronghorn: Antilocapra Americana

Pronghorn: Antilocapra Americana

About three feet tall at their shoulders, Pronghorn are among the speediest animals in the world, coming in second place only to the cheetah— clocking rates of more than 53 miles per hour. Pronghorns are also great distance runners that can travel for miles at half that speed. Their impressive backward-curving horns are found on both males and females. Male horns can reach lengths of more than a foot long, while female horns grow to about 4 inches. As herbivores, they prefer to eat grass, sagebrush, and other vegetation. Their diet in our landscape consists of 60% forbs, 25% shrubs, and 15% grass. Pronghorns mate each fall — sometimes in dramatic fashion. Bucks gather harems of females and attempt to jealously protect them, sometimes battling rival bucks horn-to-horn. In the spring, females give birth to one or two young, which can outrun a human after just a few days. Three Forks Ranch is home to about 600 Pronghorn, who roam freely across the 200,000-acre landscape.

The Red Fox

The red fox is one of the smaller members of the Canidae family, with top weights ranging between only 8-15 pounds and a length of only 3-4 feet. They tend to be loners, traveling solo and sticking to a range of about 5-10 square miles. Although commonly red in color, they can also sport shades of silver and black — but the white tip of their tales remains a most telling feature. Watching one scamper across a pasture graced with fresh snow is a magical sight. Nestled in the Sierra Madres of the Rocky Mountains, Three Forks Ranch is a sanctuary for hundreds of species of wildlife, birds, trees and flowers. Let one of our guides pick you up in one of our Polaris Rangers with hot coffee and pastries and take you on an early morning adventure that rivals an exotic safari.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

Spectacular Views

Our expansive acreage offers you infinite opportunities to view the wildlife that call Three Forks Ranch home. Your guide takes you off the beaten path to show you our Ranch’s hidden treasures — stunning natural beauty, rich historical details, and vistas that will linger in your mind’s eye for years to come.

Views
Wildlife in Sierra Madre Mountains

In any season

Breathtaking Terrain
No matter the season, our corner of the Sierra
Madre Mountains offers completely breathtaking views.

One-of-a-Kind Outdoor Experience

At Three Forks Ranch, we understand the importance of maintaining our natural surroundings, which is why we serve as a sanctuary for many different animals. During your stay with us, you may see deer, elk, foxes and more from your suite or the Main Lodge as you complete activities throughout the day.

One of the best ways to get a closer look at the surrounding wildlife is partaking in our wildlife tours. We offer these tours every season to allow all guests to see many animals in different phases of life. See baby deer and foxes in the spring, identify numerous songbirds in the fall or try spotting elk through the trees in the winter.

Regardless of the season, our expert guides will ensure your wildlife tour is an unforgettable experience. Three Forks is the best place to see wildlife in Colorado and our guides are experts on the best times and locations to view the surrounding wildlife.

Get Closer to Nature With Three Forks Ranch

Reconnect with nature in a new way while staying at Three Forks Ranch. Whether you try our wildlife tour or any other seasonal activities such as snowmobiling or hiking, there are plenty of chances to catch a glimpse of deer, songbirds, chipmunks and more. As you pause to view the abundant natural beauty at Three Forks, you may find your worries slowly slipping away as you reconnect with your natural surroundings.

Reestablish your connection with nature by booking a stay at Three Forks Ranch!


  • 3D Archery


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Sporting Clays


    SUMMER - FALL

  • South Fork Shooting Complex


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Horseback Riding


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Hiking


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Mountain Biking


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Wildlife Tours


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Fly Fishing


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

  • Ice Fishing


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Cross-Country Skiing


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Snowmobiling


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Snowshoeing


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Tubing


    WINTER - OUTDOOR

  • Wellness Essentials


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - INDOOR - OUTDOOR

  • Spa Services


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - INDOOR

  • Wellness and Fitness Activities


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - INDOOR - OUTDOOR

  • Healthy Dining/Cooking


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - INDOOR

  • Shopping in Steamboat


    SUMMER - FALL - WINTER - INDOOR - OUTDOOR

  • Hunting


    SUMMER - FALL - OUTDOOR

All Activities

Activities

Fly Fishing

AMERICA'S FINEST TROUT STREAM is here, waiting for you. On our pristine Little Snake River, catching a perfect cutthroat, tiger, brown, or rainbow trout is just one cast away.

We pride ourselves on offering guests expert guiding and instruction for all our outdoor and wellness activities.

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Ice Fishing

If you can dream it, you can likely do it here at Three Forks Ranch — and ice fishing is no exception. Originally just a hobby of some of our winter guides, guest interest inspired us to offer this thrilling activity throughout the season. We’re happy to accommodate your deepest fishing desires — even in the deepest of winter.

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The South Fork Shooting Complex

The South Fork Shooting Complex is located in an amazing setting under a covered shooting house that offers fun, rain or shine. It has rifle targets from 50 to 1000 yards and an exciting and interactive handgun range. We provide a variety of rifles and handguns and give our guests a comprehensive lesson in the operation and safe use of firearms, from our professional and knowledgeable guide staff. It’s a fantastic way to be introduced to the shooting sports for beginners and a challenge for the seasoned shooter.

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Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

Your Private Mountain in Colorado

Private Skiing. You read that correctly. Our mountain is your mountain. We limit the “crowd”. Three Forks Mountain, blanketed by hundreds of inches of snow every year, boasts 1,100 vertical feet with 20 runs for every level. Its natural cruisers, bumps, steeps, open meadows, and majestic tree lines make for a world-class experience. During the design phase, former Olympians “tested” the mountain for us — and it left them breathless and begging for more.

While some might consider snowboarding a hybrid of skiing and skateboarding, at Three Forks Ranch we just call it awesome. But the real game changer? Snowcats - our heated snowcats will whisk you to the summit in no time. No lifts, no lines, no hassle. It’s your private mountain to conquer.

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3D Archery

Our Antler Ridge 3D Archery Course has 13 stations, which are an easy walk along the trail from the instruction station, where you can learn archery for the first time or hone your skills with our expert guides. The course was designed and constructed by Three Forks guides, so it’s especially customized for the ultimate ranch experience. We offer compound bows and recurve bows — and plenty of arrows.

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Sporting Clays

Nestled in a picturesque Aspen valley, the Elk Ridge Sporting Clays course offers 12 shooting stations designed for the novice to expert. When your guides have fine-tuned your shooting, and you have a sufficiently bolstered ego from training on the Boone and Crockett Course, your personal guide will give you a tour through the 50-shot or 100-shot Pope and Young course to test and strengthen your abilities.

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Snowmobiling

If there ever was five-star snowmobiling, this is it. Thousands of private acres, no crowds, many miles of guided trails and acre after acre of pristine powder. Our guests love taking a snowmobile tour to Godfather Lake, where they enjoy ice fishing, a hearty cooler lunch, and steaming hot chocolate. It’s a unique experience that really represents the best of Three Forks. All rides are privately guided, using environmentally-sound, four-cycle snowmobiles.

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Tubing

Lodge & Spa guests consistently rank Thrill Hill, our tubing hill, as a favorite winter experience. As you fly down the slope in an inflated tube, you’ll scream like banshees — without fail, no matter whether you are 22 or 72. The best part? You don’t have to trudge back to the top! We drive you and your tube up the incline on a snowmobile. Pro tip: for the ultimate bonding experience, create a circle of tubes, hold on tight to your neighbors’ handles, and let the guides push you over the edge!

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Horseback Riding

It’s your turn to take the reins. Three Forks Ranch has a fine complement of horses for your riding pleasure no matter your level of experience. Trail riding is always an option, and our miles of scenic trails offer insider-only access to this stunning part of the country. Our wranglers take you off the beaten path to show you our Ranch’s hidden treasures — stunning natural beauty, rich historical detail, and vistas that will linger in your mind’s eye for years to come.

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Mountain Biking

Whether you crave the rush of speeding down the mountainside on your bike, or you prefer a quiet afternoon cruise to spot flora, fauna, and wildlife, a ride with one of our experienced guides is sure to show you a side of Three Forks Ranch that you can only get on two non-motorized wheels. We offer wide open roads for the novice and experienced alike. If it’s exercise you’re craving, you have plenty of road to conquer. If it’s a relaxing afternoon you desire, we can do that, too. Remember, you choose your adventure here at Three Forks Ranch!

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Hiking

Perhaps the best way to experience the natural beauty of Three Forks is on foot. A guided hike, completely personalized to your abilities and goals, enables you to step back in time at the historic homesteads of South Fork Road, hear elk bugling during their late summer mating season, and scan stunning 360-degree views with no human development in sight.

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Hunting

Surrounded on three sides by National Forest, Three Forks Ranch offers our hunters more than 50,000 acres of epic scenery, unmatched exclusivity, and healthy big-game herds of elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.

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