Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Hoy Mountain - Moffat County
Ownership: None Listed
Description: (submitted by Andrew Spencer): This site is famous (or infamous, depending on whom you ask!) for being the only place in the state where Ruffed Grouse can be found. To say access is hard is an almost unforgivable understatement. The only way to access this area without crossing private property is to hike in from the north. Budget at least a day to reach the site, a day to look for the bird, and another day to hike out. Accessing this site in this manner is definitely not for the faint of heart, but makes for a truly unforgettable adventure.

To reach the site from the north, hike down the trail at the bottom of Hoy Draw, over the Diamond Mountain Ridge to Davis Draw, and then when near the head of Davis Draw hike straight west through BLM land to the eastern flank of Hoy Mountain. A good map of the area (preferable the USGS section maps, and an atlas that shows land ownership boundaries) would be necessary to get this route to work.

Once on the eastern flank of Hoy Mountain there are two places to look for the bird. When viewed from the east, the peak of Hoy Mountain appears to be in the middle of the ridge. The spot where the bird has been seen most recently is a large grove of aspen just to the south of the peak, above a band of rimrock visible from the east. To reach the spot, hike up just to the north of the first major drainage south of the peak.

The other spot to check is north of the peak. To reach it, walk up the rough track due east of the peak to its end, and then beyond it to the large aspen grove, which should be visible at that point.

Actually finding the birds can take a great deal of effort, even after you have reached the groves. The best bet is to cover the suitable habitat (aspen mixed with conifers, with a dense undergrowth) thoroughly, and this is best done with a good-sized group. You will almost certainly see lots of Dusky Grouse, and other species typical of pinyon-juniper and aspen woodland.

Habitat: Aspen Grove, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest
Directions: To reach Hoy Draw, from Brown's Park, cross the Swinging Bridge and take a left at the "T". Head southeast on this road for about 7 miles to the entrance to Hoy Draw, on the right. Park off the road and follow the directions in the site description.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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Other Sites in Moffat County
eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Hoy Mountain Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Hoy Mountain

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Ruffed Grouse#3956610/26/1988
Ruffed Grouse13-91-249/28/1991
Ruffed Grouse2005-109 10/22/2005
Ruffed Grouse2005-99 9/25/2005
Ruffed Grouse2006-111 7/21/2006