bighorn sheep at Garden of the Gods

Bighorn sheep in the rocks at Garden of the Gods Park. (Gazette file photo)

If you’re still waiting to glimpse one of the West’s most iconic creatures, your chance could come this week at one of Colorado’s most iconic parks. 

Garden of the Gods will host the 15th annual Bighorn Sheep Day on Saturday. Sightings are never guaranteed, but with high-powered telescopes and rangers who know where to look across the rock-festooned hillsides, the chances here are about as good as it gets.  

That’s especially the case with a herd that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has long considered “healthy and prolific.”  

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Their numbers have remained strong despite what a 2014 CPW analysis called “an accidental translocation in 1946.” The horned family’s origin story is as quirky as many a tall tale on America’s Mountain. 

The first ancestors were being shuttled by wildlife officers from Pikes Peak when the transport broke down, the story goes. Instead of scampering back to where they came from, they bounded toward Queens Canyon, where their numbers grew around Glen Eyrie and the famed sandstone formations adjacent. 

You can learn more about the herd as part of Bighorn Sheep Day’s lineup of presentations. Free activities will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center.

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And if the sheep are a no-show, you’ll still get to meet other animals with Cheyenne Mountain Zoo expected to be on hand. For more information, go to visitcos.com/events-calendar/annual/bighorn-sheep-day

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