Southern Utah Wildlife

Below we list a few of the better spots to view wildlife in southern Utah.

Lizard

  • A northern extension of the Mojave Desert in the southwest corner of Utah forms the habitat base for Lytle Ranch Preserve. This is the only place in Utah to view such species as vermillion flycatcher, crissal thrasher, white winged dove, Gambel's quail and cactus wren. The site is also home to the desert tortoise and a variety of reptiles. One of the few remaining free-roaming herds of buffalo can be observed in the Henry Mountains. A herd of approximately 200 animals roams across the 11,000 foot desert mountain range throughout the year. Pine Valley north of St. George is a great place to see mule deer from spring through fall. The Parowan Front between Summit and Cedar City is a great area for viewing wintering mule deer from December through early April. Many other common forest residents such as chipmunks, cottontail rabbits, red squirrels, kestrals, and red-tailed hawks may be observed throughout the region.
  • Fish Lake Basin offers an exquisite setting to see everything from the Utah prairie dog, a threatened species, to waterfowl and shorebirds, mule deer, and the northern harrier as it hovers over meadows hunting for mice. The basin also is home to a wide variety of other species. North Skyline Drive, a 30-mile stretch between the Great Basin and the Colorado River drainage, is the scenic focal point for viewing mule deer and elk, and small mammals such as snowshoe hares, red squirrels, yellowbelly marmots, and chipmunks. In the fall, this area is the migration route for a variety of raptors including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, sharpshinned hawks, and others. A unique setting for wildlife viewing is Joe's Valley Ski Trail which loops through mule deer winter range. Along with deer, bald eagles and snowshoe hares, an occasional weasel may be observed.
  • Henry MountainsIn the mountains above Moab, the scenic 37-mile La Sal Loop Road there is an abundance of mule deer and occasionally elk. Mule deer are also prominent on the paved road into the Abajo Mountains. A variety of colorful lizards dart across the rocks at Brumley Creek. The ponds, marshes and trees of the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve near Moab provide habitat for many species of plants, animals, fish, and birds. Pika and other small mammals and birds are common on the hike from Warner Lake to Burro Pass. Hikes in the Abajo Mountains will allow viewing of Albert's Squirrel, unique to the Abajos and Elk Ridge with it's tufted ears and dapper white paws. Trophy-size elk are visible, as are migrating bald eagles and goshawks in the spring and fall. Golden mantled ground squirrels and marmots are elusive but worth the trouble.
  • A 2-day float on the San Juan River offers a unique view of desert bighorn sheep along the south side of the river. Peregrine falcon and other birds of prey may be viewed soaring above the canyon walls. The spring and fall migrations are the best times to see the songbirds and waterfowl that use this important habitat. Pronghorn antelope play on the sagebrush flats of the Hatch Point sections of the Canyon Rims Recreation Area. Mule deer, jack rabbits, and coyotes may also be commonly observed on the plateau, while swallows, swifts and raptors are viewed at the canyon overlooks. Wildlife watching is also excellent in all of the National Parks and Monuments across the southern stretches of the state.
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