The Coyote Valley Trail is one of the easy meadow trails in the Kawuneeche Valley. Kawuneeche is the Arapahoe word for coyote because there have historically been a lot of coyotes in the valley. There are pit restrooms at the trail head.
The trail is fairly heavily trafficked and sometimes in summer the parking lot fills up. This trail is a really good place for spotting moose, elk, and often there are coyotes in the meadows. This day in June it was a perfect 74 degrees and sunny and it wasn’t too crowded. The grass was really green from all the rain Colorado had been getting and overall it was just a perfect hiking day.
The first section of the trail is paved and follows the Colorado River. After the paved section ends it continues as a dirt trail and crosses a few creeks as it continues to follow the river. Visitors tend to throw logs and chunks of wood into the creek for crossing but I think these are more likely to make you fall in unless it’s really stable! I like to just jump.
In autumn this valley is usually filled with cow elk herds but I think this section of the park greens up later than the eastern section, so for now it’s pretty much empty.
We walked up a little over a mile and then turned around. On our way back we looked across the river and there was a young bull moose watching us. We stood still and he entered the river and strolled towards us, keeping his eye on us. It was a bit disconcerting because moose can be really dangerous and you always hear people warning you not to get close, but this guy was walking towards us as if he wanted to say hi. A lot of the animals up here are pretty placid around humans and I think it gives you a false sense of security about how safe you are. Anyway we let him get within about 15 feet and then we slowly backed up, at which point he dropped his head and started grazing. Sometimes in the park it can get crowded and the animals have no option but to walk towards people if they want to get to where they’re going.
Usually after we see a moose we are pretty satisfied with our day hiking at RMNP. The other best place to see them is at Sprague Lake on the east side of the park. There are almost always moose standing out in the lake eating algae.
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This was a great trail. Easy hike. We saw lots of elk and a moose.
If you're looking for a nice, flat trail that follows the Colorado River this is a great trail.
This is a nice, peaceful trail that follows the Colorado River. Parking can get crowded. Pretty views of the valley.