Antelope Island   |  Steve Greenwood

Nature and Wildlife

However you like to experience nature, Utah offers plenty of options — from relaxed wildlife viewing and photography, to active adventures like rafting, backpacking or hunting. Any time you’re outdoors, you may have the opportunity to see some of the state’s over 600 wildlife species, so keep your eyes peeled.

Tips for Responsible Travel

Ways to Enjoy Nature and Wildlife

There isn’t just one way to enjoy nature and wildlife. Lace up your hiking boots, grab your fishing pole, pack your binoculars and get ready to enjoy a plethora of outdoor and wildlife-focused adventures.

Arches National Park

Photo: Angie Payne

Zion National Park

Photo: Angie Payne

Capitol Reef National Park

Photo: Andrew Burr

Where to See Wildlife and Nature

In the northern reaches of the state, national forests and wildlife refuges offer incredible opportunities to spot wildlife. In the southern part of the state, check out some of Utah’s world-famous national parks for prime viewing opportunities. In the Southern Utah desert, broiling hot summer temperatures mean many animals are most active at dawn, dusk or nighttime.

A bison grazes along the road to White Rock Bay at Antelope Island State Park. Antelope Island, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, is home to a herd of 500 to 700 free-roaming bison.

Photo: Steve Greenwood

National Parks and Forests

In Arches National Park, keep an eye out for lizards, snakes, birds and squirrels during the day, while nighttime offers chances to see kangaroo rats, skunks, ringtails, mountain lions, bobcats, owls and other animals.

Zion National Park is home to a wide array of wildlife with 68 mammal species living there. Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, mule deer, foxes, rock squirrels, bats and other animals. To see the full array of wildlife, keep an eye out after dark. Due to the hot summer days, many of Zion National Park’s animal inhabitants are nocturnal and best seen at night. Mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and ringtail cats are just some of the park’s nocturnal residents. During the day, you may even be able to see signs of their nighttime outings, such as tracks and scat.

Utah is also home to several national forests that make for good wildlife viewing, including the very popular Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

State Parks

Utah’s state parks are the perfect place to see a wild variety of wildlife species. 

Check out Antelope Island State Park for a chance to see bison, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, bighorn sheep and countless bird species all along the Great Salt Lake. (Read: Great Salt Lake Needs Your Visit)

Willard Bay State Park is a good spot to spy nesting eagles during the winter. 

Wildlife Refuges

Utah is home to three incredible wildlife refuges. 

Things to Know

Wildlife Safety and Outdoor Ethics

  • Learn about Outdoor Safety & Ethics and plan ahead for a safe outing. 
  • In bear country, Be Bear Aware and practice good bear safety practices like keeping a clean camp, hiking in groups, making noise while hiking and properly disposing of garbage. 
  • Be sure to Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace.
  • Never approach or feed wildlife. 
  • Bring binoculars and long-range camera lenses to enjoy the views from a safe distance. 
  • Learn how to stay safe around wildlife: Wild Aware Utah — created by Utah’s Hogle Zoo, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Utah State University Extension — provides Utah residents and visitors with wildlife awareness and safety information.

Prepare for the Conditions

  • Check the weather before venturing out, but know the weather can rapidly change. Be prepared for a wide mix of conditions. To learn more, visit out Utah weather page.
  • Be sure to dress appropriately for the conditions, and bring everything you will need to be self-sufficient in remote areas, including a first aid kit, emergency supplies, sun protection, warm clothes and ample food and water. 
  • Prepare for a safe trip by researching possible hazards you may face and learning how to handle them — from flash floods and dangerous weather, to heat stroke and hypothermia.

More tips for responsible travel

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