If you are a first time visitor to Estes Park and the surrounding Rocky Mountain areas it might be wise to think about hiring a guide. Not only does the guide know the “in” places to go, taking you there quickly and directly, but he/she can provide an original, one-of-a-kind experience tailored to your own unique wishes.
Are you a photographer looking for wildlife in their habitat? Or maybe you would rather bird watch in the forest? Perhaps you want to climb somewhere off the beaten trail? How about experiencing the thrill of white water rafting? Maybe you just want to drop a line in the river, fishing for a trout dinner. Or, maybe you want it all.
By hiring a local guide you have the benefits of insider knowledge and experience while avoiding the sometimes dangerous pitfalls and often time-wasting mistakes inexperienced visitors make.
Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Nature and Wildlife Guide
1. A good guide can take you quickly and directly to the places you wish to see. No wandering on your own getting lost.
2. If you’re looking for wildlife, local guides are nearly indispensable, as they know at any given time of day, or season, where the species you are interested in will probably be and what they will be doing. Not much fun to view the elk when they are napping.
3. The guide can shed light on the history, geology, folklore, and plants and animals of the area. Most of the really interesting and fascinating local color can only be gleaned by talking with a friendly guide.
4. Guides let you know what you’ll need to bring in your day pack– Warm clothes or cool? How much food and water to bring? Any specialty items? Like having the right bait for fishing, the right gear for photography, or even the right shoes. Do you have to have hiking boots or are running shoes okay? Your guide will know.
5. A guide can take you to places that are “off the map”, known only to locals. Usually these places are the most rewarding and memorable.
6. Most guides are patient teachers. If you are trying something new, your guide will happily teach you and point you in the right direction. Even if you are experienced you’ll probably learn something that you didn’t know before from your guide.
7. Guides help to keep you safe. The Rocky Mountains are not Disneyland. The area needs to be respected, and a good guide knows the dangers and how to play it safe. The guide will have a back up plan in case of emergency. Most guides are certified in CPR and first aid; and they usually carry GPS tracking systems.
8. As a guide, this person eats, sleeps, and breathes the high mountain experience. They love it, it’s their home. Guides take pride in sharing their knowledge and experience with visitors. It is in their own best interest to make absolutely sure your experience is terrific and extraordinary, as you’ll be more inclined to come again and recommend him or her to your friends.
9. A guide can help you avoid “tourist traps” in favor of more valuable and meaningful experiences. You may only get a few weekends a year to get away or maybe just one week long vacation. By hiring a guide on the first day you can glean important information to help you decide what you will be doing with the rest of your visit.
10. Make a new friend. Quite often guides become long time, trusted friends that you return to year after year. Even if you are not able to come back again, most guides are really fun to be around and have a very positive attitude. It’s like having an instant friend in an unfamiliar place.