Elk Pictures

Elk Pictures: Photos and images of elk in the Pacific Northwest, plus best ways to find Roosevelt Elk and wapiti in the ONP and PNW for photographing.

Wouldn't it be great to get some elk pictures during a visit to the Pacific Northwest?

With roughly 5,000 Roosevelt elk living in the Olympic National Park and a typical herd size of 30-40 in total, this amounts to upwards of 140+ separate herds of elk within the Park, not to mention those other elk herds out and about in other areas of the Pacific Northwest.

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Maybe your chances of finding one of these elk herds aren't so bad?! If you can just find some elk sign and then follow the evidence (sticking to trails in sensitive areas), you may yet go home with wonderful elk photos and terrific memories as well.

Some of our own elk photos are posted below.

(And soon: elk pictures by professional photographers. If you like what you see, click through to their website(s) and make a purchase to complement your Pacific Northwest memories!)

Best Way to See Roosevelt Elk

  • You might get lucky! We encountered a large herd of elk in the Hoh Rainforest just 50 feet from Upper Hoh Road purely by accident (delightfully so!).

    We found them in the late afternoon shortly after we left the Hoh Visitor Center. Pulling to the shoulder, we carefully deployed the cameras. The elk stared at us, and then continued to drift slowly from forage to forage.

  • Elk are most active at dawn and dusk, so plan to look for them in the early morning and early-to-late evenings.

  • Look for signs of their prior presence to guide your search – trails, hoof-prints in moist ground, scat on the ground, etc.

    Elk hoof-prints are roughly 4” x 3,” larger than deer prints and smaller than moose prints. Elk scat is considerably larger than deer droppings, somewhat in the shape of an acorn. You’ll likely see them in piles of 40 or more pellets.

  • Look for browsed plants or antler rub scars on shrubs or tree trunks. You might even find dried velvet draped over a shrub branch.

  • Expect to see elk in clearings or on the edge of the forest near open spaces. If your visit is in late fall or winter, the leaves will have fallen, providing a clearer view of the environment.

  • Beware of hunting season! If you’re hunting for meat, you will know to wear bright clothing to alert other hunters. If you’re hunting photos or memories, please be careful!

    Do your homework; know the dates of open season, and if they coincide with your search for Roosevelt elk, take every precaution, such as wearing a neon-orange jacket so an overeager elk hunter won’t confuse your movements for that of an elk.

  • For more ideas on viewing and attracting elk, check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's excellent webpage: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/elk.html

Cities near Roosevelt Elk Herds in the

Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park:

  • Aberdeen: 112.4 miles (approx. 2.25 hours)
  • Forks: 31 miles (approx. 47 minutes)
  • Port Angeles: 88 miles (approx. 2 hours)
  • Seattle: 216.3 miles (approx. 4 hours)

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