Cimarron Wildlife Spotting
Anytime you’re out walking along the pathways above the Sheep River in Cimarron, it will be a wildlife experience. Mammals small and large thrive in this ecosystem, as do snakes, birds and all of the smaller winged and crawling creatures that they dine on.
Game birds such as grouse are plentiful in the park. Also eagles, falcons and several species of owls, including great horned and great gray. A significant migratory route brings spectacular raptors over the Windy Point-Foran Grade Ridge area each spring and fall.
Despite the name, it’s somewhat rare to see bighorn sheep because the herd size is shrinking and the territory that they range in is pretty extensive. They are usually to be found in the valley somewhere, though. Extensive open grasslands on south and southwest facing slopes make the Sheep River Valley a prime range for bighorn sheep, and frequent Chinooks and relatively low snowfalls make for mild winters and good access to forage. These same features also make the river valley a valuable range for elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer, and you can expect to see many of these creatures.
Where you have small birds and animals, you can be sure to find predators as well. In addition to raptor birds, cougars, black bears, grizzly bears, coyotes, wolves, lynx, bobcat, and wolverine have all been observed.
So take your field glasses and enjoy all that nature has to offer, but make sure you exercise caution, particularly if you get off the beaten path in the park but also on the groomed pathways. When you’re so close to urban areas it’s all too easy to get overconfident.