Bear Lake Backyard – Cataloochee Valley Elk

By Bear Lake Staff / September 20, 2013

If you are a Bear Laker then like many of us you consider these beautiful mountains to be your backyard and playground; the places you go and visit while you are with us are enriching and soulful, always leaving you ready to come back for more.  In our “Bear Lake Backyard” segments we are going to share new treasures with you – places of laughter, beauty, and memories to be made.

Who has been to Cataloochee Valley, just over the mountain from our home at Bear Lake Reserve?  If you have ever visited you have probably heard about or even seen the majestic Elk that roam the area.  September and October are prime months to view the elk as they are emerging from their covered forests into the fields of the valley, bugling to call potential mates and inform others that the bull is present.

25 Elk were introduced to the area in 2001 with the population growing to 150-160 in 2013 – Officials have estimated that 24 calves were born this year alone.  How amazing!  The sound of the bulls bugling has been described as a “haunting call” as it travels across the fields.  Visitors are encouraged to stay in or close to their cars while visiting the area.  As with any wild animal the Elk can show unpredictable behavior, especially during the “bugling” season.  Be safe, Bear Lakers – but don’t forget your cameras!

The best time to view these massive creatures is about two hours before sunset, when they start making their way into the fields.  Cataloochee Valley is easily accessible by taking the Russ Avenue exit off of US-23 North.  Check out this article for more information on visiting the Elk of Cataloochee Valley: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/elk.htm.

Your Bear Lake team plans to visit these fields and bring back some pictures for you.  Stay tuned over the next month to see pictures from our outing!

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