Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

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Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby chinookhead » Sat May 25, 2013 8:11 pm

Hi. Where are some of the best areas and trails on which to consistently see mountain goats in July in the San Juan mountains? I know that there is never a "guarantee", but I'm just wondering if people could clue me into some areas where they are more common.


I'll be on a road trip in the area for most of the month of July. I know that some people seem to talk about them in the Chicago Basin like a "plague"........but I'm probably not interested in the Chicago Basin (mainly because of crowds and logistics).

I already have plans to hike:

1) Mount Sneffels via the Southwest Ridge and the Blue Lakes Trail.

2) Ice Lakes Basin

3) Ruby and Emerald Lake (Lime Mesa Trail).


Do the above places have consistent mountain goat activity or particular areas where you often see mountain goats or other "big" animals?
Last edited by chinookhead on Sat May 25, 2013 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby somethingrandom » Sat May 25, 2013 9:19 pm

You wont see goats anywhere near Sneffles (at least I havent heard of them ever being there, but hell of a fun route!)

I have never seen/heard of goats at Ice Lake Basin.

I have never been to Lime Mesa but the area is not particularly known for goats.

Your best bet to see goats will be in the Elks, primarily Pyramid though not knowing your climbing ability I wont recommend the peak to go see a goat as you avoid them like Paris Hilton when you dont have a rubber, and Quandary Peak which it seems everyone but me has encountered goats on.

I have also heard of goats on Evans and may peaks in the Mosquito Range though havent seen them on my hikes.
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby chinookhead » Sat May 25, 2013 9:36 pm

Somethingrandom......thanks for the info. I hope that the following will help people' make suggestions:


1) I don't feel a need to always be climbing around 14'ers.

2) I'd like to usually keep the hiking class 3 and under (definitely not class 5)

3) I love hikes with alpine lakes for the scenery and fishing

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby lpyle » Sun May 26, 2013 5:35 am

I've seen goats every time I've been up to Buckskin Pass near the Maroon Bells. Also on Grays (standard route) and Torrey's (Kelso ridge). We saw a large herd on Mt. Edwards. Mt Evans is a good place, too.
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby sunny1 » Sun May 26, 2013 6:17 am

Not the San Juans...saw some goats yesterday on the west ridge of Mt Evans.
Have seen them on Quandary, in the Blue Lakes area; also Grays and Torreys.
Plenty around the Elks - Maroons, Pyramid, Capitol, Snowmass.
You don't need to climb a 14er to see them.

If you're really into seeing and observing goats, the Chicago Basin rules! There are times when it's not crowded. Would avoid holiday weekends there.
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby SolarAlex » Sun May 26, 2013 7:27 am

everytime ive been up quandary (6x) ive seen goats. also saw a solitary goat one day on bierstadt
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby bonehead » Sun May 26, 2013 7:39 am

Again, not the San Juans.
But for those interested,
we saw a very healthy herd of goats
on California last summer.
Many calves among them.
Also saw a pair of sheep,
but at a pretty fair distance.
I beleive it was opening day
elk bow season, just for a time frame.

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby dehrlich101 » Sun May 26, 2013 7:50 am

San Juan's Goat Viewing = Chicago Basin

We went a few years ago during the week in later August and there really wasn't too many people in the basin with us. More goats then you can shake a stick at.

Image

I've heard of people seeing goats on San Luis, but that was few and far between. I haven't seen a goat anywhere else in the San Juan's, other than Chicago Basin.

Can anyone comment on Ruby Basin? I haven't been there but I'm guessing there will be a good population of goats there due to how close it is to Chicago Basin, and there will be significantly less people. Logistics would be almost the same though.
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby d_baker » Sun May 26, 2013 8:40 am

dehrlich101 wrote:Can anyone comment on Ruby Basin?

Yes and yes. (Yes I can comment, and yes, they're in Ruby. ;) )

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby peter303 » Sun May 26, 2013 10:33 am

Not the San Juans, but I see them often if go up early on Mt Evans. I think the tourists feed them.

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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby rocky » Sun May 26, 2013 2:07 pm

Definitely Mt. Evans. I've run up the road before it was open for the season and was mobbed by hungry goats. It actually got a bit spooky, as they weren't afraid of me at all. I put away the power bar, but they kept pestering me anyway.
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Re: Best Places to see Mountain Goats in the San Juans?

Postby killstorm » Sun May 26, 2013 2:51 pm

Keeping on the general theme of mountain goats in CO, other than places already mentioned I've come across goats on Bison Peak and heading up from the Chicago Lakes on the way up to Mount Warren.

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