This is a premier area to view wildlife. Elk were plentiful when the Ute Indians lived in this area, but years of hunting pressure in the late 1800s nearly depleted the herds. The population was reestablished with elk transported by rail from Yellowstone National Park in 1911. Today, 700 to 1,000 elk gather here before migrating northeast in November. Bighorn sheep, as well as golden and bald eagles, are also seen along this stretch of highway.

CanadianLynx EdKnight
Canadian Lynx Ed Knight

Elk EdKnightPhoto
Elk by Ed Knight Photo



Credits and Acknowledgments

The research, writing and production of this interpretive booklet were made possible by grants from the following generous organizations: Federal Highway Administration Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), colorado Historical Society, Western Colorado Interpretive Association (WCIA), Hinsdale County Lodging Tax Panel, Lake City Chamber of Commerce, the Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, the Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway Council, and the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team. Special thanks to Grant Houston of the Hinsdale County Historical Society, Lynna Jackson of Creede, Nancy Houston, and the authors, Laurene Farley and Sandy Thompson of the U.S. Forest Service, Gunnison, Colorado. Layout and design update by B4 Studio, Creede.