How to Photograph Mountain Goats on Mt. Evans Colorado

I’ve had a few people ask me how I got the mountain goat pictures on Mt. Evans so I thought it might be worth a blog post to explain how to plan a successful photo trip to one of the closest and most accessible fourteeners in the Colorado Front Range!

Beautiful Mount Evans Colorado

Well, the first obstacle you must overcome is the getting there. Ever since the onset of the Covid virus a timed entry ticket is required for entry. To acquire one of these go to the website recreation.gov and set up an account. It’s a fairly easy process and if you like to visit the parks you are going to want one eventually. The site lets you make reservations at all the national parks and many other interesting locations that now require the timed entry permits. For Mount Evans I recommend the 8:00-10:00 a.m. time slot for a couple of reasons, the first being it is the best arrival time to catch the animals when they are active, the second being it allows you the most time on the summit before the inevitable inclement weather sets in. Once you successfully create your reservation you will be given the opportunity to download the PDF ticket which you can print or save on your phone. I recommend doing both, either method is acceptable at the entry kiosk so if you happen to lose your printed version hopefully you will still have your phone!

Mountain Goats on Mount Evans

There are several options when choosing your ticket as there are a number of attractions on the way to the summit, including the Goliath Interpretive Park and the Summit Lake trailhead. The most expensive ticket of course is going to be the one that provides access to all the attractions including the summit area.

There are two routes to the mountain, one from the Evergreen side and another from the Idaho Springs side over old Squaw Pass Road, now known as Highway 103. Take 103 all the way to it’s summit where you will arrive at Echo Lake and the junction with Highway 5 which is Mount Evans Road and the access point to the summit. A short distance up the road  is the ranger station where you will have to present your timed entry ticket. I was told to leave my printed ticket on the dash board throughout my visit.

Marmot on Mount Evans

Here is where the fun begins, the long narrow winding road, mostly without guardrails, that takes you to the summit! Drive carefully, there may be wildlife on the road and it can be a trick to negotiate oncoming traffic both on the way up and the way down. Watch for the mountain goats and bighorn sheep as you ascend the scenic mountain, they don’t spend the night at the summit so as the day warms they can be seen making their way up the mountainside to the summit where they enjoy spending their days.

Hopefully by the time you reach the summit parking lot the wild goats will be there as well… if not you can take the rugged half mile trail to the actual summit and take in the fantastic 360 degree view including the Mount of the Holy Cross and other fourteeners including Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. Oh, I forgot to mention, you will want to include clothing on this trip that will cover anything from summer to winter weather! On my recent trip the the sun was shining with about 75 degree temps at Evergreen and on the summit the wind was blowing about 40mph with parkas and winter head gear required!

To actually acquire good photographs of the animals you are going to want a good camera with the capability of manual settings and  a telephoto lens of at least 200mm. This allows you to shoot away from a distance without disturbing the animals. I used my 100-400mm lens and found it to be about right. Of course you can photograph the closer animals with a phone, they are basically unafraid of people

Mountain Goats on Mount Evansand many walk right up to them, way too close for their own safety. Keep in mind that these are wild animals and even though they tolerate people they occasionally feel threatened and may attack. Trust me, you do not want to be attacked by a mountain goat… they can really mess you up!

 

To get the best capture you are going to want to have a good understanding of how to set the exposure on your camera. The goats are bright white and the sky in the morning is going to be bright blue, a combination that is going to wreak havoc with your camera’s metering system. I found when the goats were on top of the rocks with the sky in the background I was dialing in at least +1 to +2 stops of exposure compensation (EC). Later on as we descended the mountain +.3 EC was better for photographing the darker bighorn sheep against the rocks.

Most afternoons severe weather is going to be moving in over the high peaks including heavy rain and lightning. By 2:00 p.m. your day on the summit is most likely going to be over and you should be on your way down. Once the lightning starts you don’t want to be standing outside, it is much safer inside your vehicle. One top of the mountain your chance of getting struck by lightning go from one in a million to highly likely.

A visit to the beautiful mountain towns of Georgetown, Idaho Springs and Evergreen is a great way to spend an afternoon, taking in some lunch, a micro brew and the many gift shops!

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As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Bighorn Sheep on Mount Evans

Photo Adventure on Mount Evans

Beautiful Mount Evans Colorado

A photo trip to Mount Evans is always on the top of my favorite things to do list and time was running out on this season’s opportunities at that place. So yesterday was the day when all the stars aligned for our second road trip of the year to this beautiful 14,265 foot peak. I was able to get a timed entry ticket for 10:00 a.m., so Kevin and I met in Woodland Park at 7:30 for the journey. It was a beautiful day for a road trip… 46 degrees at sunrise with nothing but sunshine all around 🙂

By the time we hit Evergreen it was warming up pretty good so we were thinking that it was going to be brisk but pleasant on the summit. Our first warning that the pleasant part of that was at risk came at the entrance to the fee area at Echo Lake where the bulletin board showed zero animal sightings and a 25 mph wind at the peak. No matter, we continued the journey looking forward to seeing the mountain goats on the summit area.

Mountain Goats on Mount Evans

We successfully navigated the narrow winding road past all the terrifyingly steep cliffs and found a good parking spot at the top. As I attempted to open my door, the reason for the warnings on the board became suddenly apparent. The wind by this time was probably blowing 40mph and I could barely open the door. We had to strategically open one door at a time so that the entire contents of the vehicle didn’t fall victim to the wind tunnel effect and become scattered debris all over the mountain.

In that kind of wind I knew that I wouldn’t be changing lenses so I attached only the 100-400mm without the 1.4x extension and left everything else safely in my backpack. There were no goats to be seen so we took the short hike around the summit house into the full force of the gale in search of the herd. It wasn’t long before my ears and fingers were stinging from the cold, and I was breathing hard in the thin air of 14,000 feet of elevation as the wind sucked the remaining oxygen out of my lungs.

Mountain Goats on Mount Evans

Our usual trek to the very summit was unanimously abandoned as we agreed that we both seen it plenty of times and there was little to prove by going up there on this day. With no wildlife to photograph, I snapped a few images of the distant peaks and we hiked back to the vehicle for the trip down. A couple of switchbacks later I spotted a small herd of the bright white mountain goats slowly making their way to the summit. We found a place to park on the narrow road and got out for a few shots of the beautiful creatures before they crossed over the next switchback above.

Since it appeared the animals were on their way to the summit we got turned around and went back up. By this time it was considerably warmer and the wind had died down to a more comfortable velocity, much better for a good session with the wildlife 🙂 We followed the beasts around for an hour or two as they clambered over the boulders, up and

Marmot on Mount Evans

down, here and there… until they eventually tired and lay down for a nap. The last goat standing stopped on top of a boulder with the beautiful blue Colorado sky in the background and posed for a bit, allowing for what was arguably the best images of the morning!

The trip down the mountain was also fruitful, as we saw some awesome scenery, a couple of herds of bighorn sheep and a few chubby and fairly friendly members of the marmot population. There was a considerable delay as one herd of the sheep had decided to own the road for a while, backing traffic up in both directions. the main attraction / problem here was a youngster who couldn’t quite decide where he wanted to be. So he was all over the road, at times worrying his mother as he climbed the embankment on the high side.

Bighorn Sheep on Mount Evans

Eventually we reached the end of the treacherous road at Echo lake, however the day was far from done. A recent tip from a parks ranger had us on the trail of the elusive moose at Jefferson Lake, a place neither of us had ever been. It appeared Guanella Pass out of Georgetown was going to be the quickest and most direct route so down the mountain we went, to Idaho Springs and I70 over to Georgetown and the entrance to the pass. Guanella pass is now a pleasant completely paved byway past Mount Bierstadt and down along beautiful Geneva Creek, eventually to Highway 285 and a short jaunt to the west to the town of Jefferson which is also the highway 77 junction and a shortcut back to Highway 24 near Lake George. So what looked like a difficult and long trip to this newly discovered wildlife area actually turned out to be pretty conveniently situated as a place we can visit regularly, less than half the distance to Waterton Canyon and on paved roads all the way except for the last few miles back into the recreation area! Plus I discovered that my season pass to Eleven Mile Canyon is also good at the new recreation area 🙂

Red-Tail Hawk

As we entered into the fee area it became obvious that this was indeed excellent moose country. The lady ranger told us where the huge beasts could be found, but unfortunately none had been seen in recent days. Two trips through the beautiful wetlands produced only tracks, no actual moose.

By this time the day was well spent and we decided to take Highway 77 down past Tarryall Reservoir for one last attempt at seeing some of the large lowland animals. We soon discovered that we were in prime red-tailed hawk country and were able to capture some excellent images of the beautiful raptors in flight in the golden light of dusk. Here at the computer looking over the images in Photoshop I can see that I have garnered some of the best raptor in flight images that I have captured!

All in all it was a hugely successful day and I will be at the computer for some time processing, uploading and printing the best of the best  🙂

 

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Mountain Goats on Mount Evans

Mount Evans Excursion

Finally had a day off that coincided with my buddy Kevin’s day off so we took advantage and made an excursion to the Mount Evans, Colorado summit via famed Mount Evans Road, the highest paved road in the country.  It was a great day for it too! Last time I went the clouds rolled in way too early and about the time I was ready to get my best pictures it got really dark and started to rain. We had some clouds this time but the light remained satisfactory for photography throughout the whole day 🙂

One Horned Bighorn Sheep

We were encouraged that it was going to be a good day as we saw a few mountain goats and bighorn sheep on the steep curvy drive to the summit, but none with a place we could pull off the narrow road for pictures. No matter, goal number one was to reach the summit before the expected thunderstorms moved in. Lightning on a mountain summit is nothing to mess with! First order of business once we found a parking place was to take the quarter mile hike on the rocky trail to the actual summit and locate the geological survey marker! I’m pretty sure you have to touch it or the entire journey fails to be recorded in the big box in the sky 🙂

 

On our way up the trail there was a guy admiring the scenery who told us that on this particular day there was a good view of Mount Holy Cross in the distance. I have read about it, some of my friends have hiked the mountain and some have climbed it… but I had never seen it with my own eyes. I aimed my camera in the direction he indicated but didn’t see

Mount Holy Cross

anything… we were determined to reach the summit so I just snapped a picture thinking that I would look for it in Photoshop later. Finally on the way back down I looked again through the long lens and saw what I thought must be the legendary cross. Today I compared my image to the ones on the forest service site and I am reasonably certain that I have captured a good view of it in this image. That blackish pile of rocks on the left is Mount Bierstadt, a 14er upon which I triumphantly stood only four short years ago! You can see the cross in the background near the middle of the image, snow filled cracks in the great mountain that give the appearance of a cross. According to History.com, “William Henry Jackson became the first person to photograph Colorado’s elusive Mount of the Holy Cross, providing reliable proof of its existence.”. Also, according to Summitpost.org, “The first reported and official sighting of the cross occurred on August 29th, 1869 when the second in command of the Whitney (A Harvard Man) expedition, a Mr. William Brewer (then a Yale professor) reported seeing a far-off cross. As the expedition was returning to Denver, the group decided to ride their horses to the local mountain of Grays Peak. While atop, Brewer wrote that, “The Mount of the Holy Cross was forty miles away, with its’ cross of pure white, a mile high, suspended aginst its side.” “.

As usual on the summit at least one set of people saw our cameras and asked us to do their portraits… with their camera of course. Given our camera equipment they said it looked like we knew what we were doing! I replied, well either that or I just spent a lot of money trying to look like I know what I’m doing 🙂 Anyway I snapped a few shots for them with the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the background.

After a short stay at the summit we headed down to the visitor area where the bighorns and mountain goats were hanging out. The main goal of the day was to get some good

Baby Mountain Goat on Mount Evans Summit

captures of the wildlife, and hopefully some of the way too cute baby ones. After only a couple of minutes a mama and goat kid were located, unafraid of the people and willing to pose for a few pictures 🙂 There were also some adult goats making their way around the boulder pile that made for some good captures too.

 

Finally we felt we had captured the scene adequately and began the drive back down. I was hoping we would see some larger herds feeding on the alpine tundra with a nice view of the amazing peaks surrounding Mount Evans and we weren’t disappointed! It wasn’t long before we encountered the unusual scene of mountain goats and bighorn sheep traveling in the same group! Pretty scraggly looking they were at this time of year when they are shedding their winter coats, but still a sight to behold! There was also a small mountain goat family making their way across the tundra, the little ones putting on a good show for the onlookers 🙂

Eventually they ambled off and we decided to head for home. 350 images I captured yesterday, going to take a while to get all the good ones processed! In the meantime I have a couple uploaded to my website, ready for purchase as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, wrapped canvas or traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool gift items, handy household items, tech gadgets like phone cases and batteries and much more!

Baby Mountain Goat in Wildflowers

 

New Photo Galleries on Website

Cold out this morning… not that it stopped me, I still took the big dog for his walk but with wind chills of zero we didn’t go quite as far. Instead today I am restructuring my website. Seems some of my categories are getting a bit full making it difficult to locate the images you might be looking for. So, I have added new galleries for bighorn sheep, for predators such as fox, wolves and coyote, and a whole section just for elk! However, if you just feel like perusing through a lot of wildlife pictures the original all inclusive wildlife gallery is still available. I have also retained the all inclusive Rocky Mountain Winter and Colorado Rocky Mountain galleries with huge collections of mountain landscapes 🙂

Baby Mountain Goat

I also had a gallery for Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak that I set up when the only images of Pikes Peak I had were shot from Garden of the Gods. And that was when I lived in Parker! Since then I of course have moved to Woodland Park and now Cripple Creek where my pictures of Pikes Peak have massively expanded! So today I have separated out the two subjects into specific galleries for Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. There is also a gallery for Manitou Springs and the Incline if that is what you are looking for 🙂

And of course I have also had to add new galleries for Cripple Creek and the historic mining district, and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range which are my main subjects these days! There is also a weather gallery for those seeking pictures of storms and approaching foul weather! I hope that I have done  this in time to assist my readers in giving the gift of art for Christmas!

Cap Cloud on the Sangre

Next on my list… off to the store to purchase a new lead for the big dog. He somehow managed to break his unbreakable tether supposedly good for dogs up to 150 pounds! I swear 😦

Wildlife Collection

Wanted to do a little shout out for my wildlife collection of images. These captures span the four amazing seasons of Colorado over the last 15 years and include many of Colorado’s intriguing furry friends. There are currently 422 images in this collection, including deer and elk in all four seasons, mountain goats and bighorn sheep high on Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, fox, bear, coyote, birds, small animals.

Deer-Trio

Please feel welcome to take a look at these amazing creatures on your journey through the Colorado wilderness as seen through my lens. You will see deer and elk surviving terrible blizzards, mountain goats and bighorn sheep standing precariously on the edge of sharp rocks on the tops of peaks at dizzying elevations, storms, sunsets, baby animals and more!

These images are available as wall art on beautiful glossy metal or acrylic sheets, canvas, traditional print material or framed in a frame of your choice! The images can also be purchased on gift and household items such as coffee mugs, greeting cards, beach towels, pillows, shower curtains, shopping bags, t-shirts and more! I sincerely hope you enjoy this pictorial journey through the Colorado wilderness 🙂 But don’t stop here, click the “collections button” at the top of the page to view many more collections, including sports, landscapes and mountain peaks and magnificent sunsets. The commercial stock wildlife collection can be licensed for use by your business for ad campaigns or to create products such as calendars and post cards you can sell for a profit.

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

Facing the Fact

Summer is over and the crisp temperatures of fall are settling in all over the high country. I have uploaded a few of my best autumn color pictures to Alamy and Pixels.com but I have to face the fact. My style of imagery sells best on iStock. Despite it’s shortcomings and small commission rates, the bulk of my income comes from there. There isn’t really any other place where I  can reliably place my sports editorial images and with my years of experience there, I have my rejection rate down to zero.

Hikers-1.jpgSo this morning I am finding myself looking over the summer’s images and noticing how many good ones I have yet to upload. Our Mount Massive summit hike is the shoot I am looking at right now. Wow… what a day that was, beautiful weather, good friends, a rugged hike and some of the most magnificent scenery and wildlife I have ever seen were the experience of that day.

Will also never forget the cute lady with the little Pomeranian doggy that was hiking with her. We first saw her coming up behind us and were determined that she was not going to pass us… but youth won out and she eventually caught up with us, so not wanting to let an opportunity for a  photo op pass, I wondered if she would stop and pose for a picture. She graciously did and now I have the memory cast in pixels 🙂Hiking-with-Dog.jpg

We didn’t see any wildlife on the way up and I was a bit disappointed about that, but on the way down we were graced by the presence of a small herd of mountain goats, including this cute baby. This of course was well worth the time taking a break in our hike to capture. I uploaded a small number of the very best ones to my Alamy port, but there are dozens more images from this day that belong on iStock, and that’s the plain truth of it.

Mountain-Goat.jpgThe new policy of no deletions without permission on iStock bothers me a little bit, but if I think about it… I never delete any anyway. I just put them up there for sale and forget about them. Money is short these days and there doesn’t seem to be much under my control that I can do, but I can surely upload these assets to iStock where I know the inspectors will put them up for sale. It’s what I’ve always done and now is not the time to falter 🙂

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography.

Bierstadt

I have been wanting to get up to Georgetown and Guanella Pass to hike Bierstadt since being reminded of it on 14ers.com. Twenty years has passed by since I have climbed a 14er for real and I didn’t want another year to slip by without feeling the exhilaration of a summit. I knew the pass was on the west side of Mount Evans but never realized there was another 14er just right there. Well anyway, I awoke early yesterday morning and decided it was the day to load up the car and make the climb. By 4:30 a.m. I was on my way to Georgetown. Well technically I was on my way to Loaf and Jug for a cup of coffee 🙂

Mount Bierstadt

Summit of Mount Bierstadt Colorado

Next stop, the Mountain Buzz Cafe in Georgetown for some nourishment. A huge sausage, egg and cheese bagel with some green peppers seemed like a good start for a climb up a 14er 🙂 They have wifi there too so I checked in on Facebook… just in case I didn’t make it back someone would know where to look! Not that it was necessary, there was a steady stream of hikers on the mountain all day long.

A quick trip up Guanella Pass and I was parked at the top of the pass. There was one guy already coming down and I conferred with him a bit to make sure I knew which peak was Bierstadt. Using my Leadville 100 pacing strategy, I decided to start out slow… and then slow down. Across the valley and up the side of the mountain. About a third of the way into the hike I kind of got into a groove and was covering some pretty good ground while trying to keep my pulse and breathing under control. People on their way down kept telling me that they had seen no wildlife other than the birds so I was a little disappointed about that, but the scenery was fabulous so I was having a great day anyway.

Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats on Mount Bierstadt Colorado

About two thirds of the way up the three mile trail I experienced a bit of a miracle! I had decided to take a break from my determined march to the peak and stopped to put down my pack to get a drink. As I pulled off the trail to set down my pack I saw something white about thirty yards away. Closer inspection revealed that there were three beautiful fluffy white mountain goats grazing on the tundra, so I grabbed my camera and snapped off a couple of pictures before they could run away. Well much to my surprise they didn’t run away and were soon headed right for me. Put my camera on the monopod and kept shooting as they walked right across the trail and over to the other side for more grazing. The big goat stopped on the trail right in front of me and a gathering crowd and looked at another guy coming up the trail like he was going to start enforcing some crowd control. He was forced to stop and after a long stare down the goat moved on. I guess he just wanted to make an example with that one guy so everyone to know who was boss up there 🙂 Those were the only goats or sheep I saw all day and I pondered the Providence that had guided me to the only animals on the mountain at the exact moment that they were on the trail near me. And I doubt I would have seen them had I not been urged to stop and take a break. No one else would have either as everyone was just plowing up the trail looking down at the rocks for the best place for each footstep. I took it as a sign that I was being watched over with a kindness that is beyond my understanding.

Finally I made my way to the summit area where I discovered that the mound at the top of the mountain was actually a huge boulder field marked only by cairns to guide the way through the maze of rocks. The trail was very difficult to follow on the way up and I eventually decided to do the smart thing and put my camera in the pack to keep it from banging on the rocks and to free both hands for bouldering. I don’t think I took the optimal path and I have to admit there were a couple of times I gave up and headed back down. Each time though, as I headed back down I discovered a passable route and decided to keep going up. Finally the large boulders gave way to smaller rocks and dirt that were easier to traverse and soon I was standing on the summit. Had to find the brass USGS summit marker so I could get a shot of it to prove I was there.

I was worried about getting back down the boulder field with my chronologically challenged knee joints, but the trail was easier to see on the way down and I was quickly on my way back down the mountain. It seemed like a long slog back to the car, but I finally made it about two hours later than I had intended. I had wanted to go into Georgetown and spend some time but I didn’t want to hit the Denver rush hour traffic so I will have to save that visit for another day.

As I write this morning, even though I’m dog tired and my old bones are aching I am ecstatic that I can add another summit to my short list of 14ers climbed. It was a beautiful day and there is no place where I am more happy than in the cold and wind of the mountain tundra high above tree line. Maybe I can get in one more hike before the snow flies 🙂