Nature and Wildlife
Utah is a land of contrast and variety in landscapes, in color, in precipitation, and of abundant natural, undeveloped space necessary for a healthy ecosystem full of wildlife. With more than 600 species of mammals, fishes, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, Utah has so much to offer wildlife viewing aficionados, hunters, and fisherman. What's more, Utah's natural palette is among the West's most vibrant, which means diverse backdrops for wildlife adventures. In particular, Utah's fall foliage scene flies under the radar in North America, but is well worth seeking out.
The Great Salt Lake and its wetlands, a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, is a critical annual staging area for millions of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds from the Arctic Tundra to the tip of South America! Make sure to visit Antelope Island State Park and notice countless birds as well as bison, deer, California bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope and many other Utah wildlife species. In winter, take a sleigh ride through Hardware Ranch for a chance to observe up close a herd of a thousand or more wild elk taking refuge from the harsh winter environs found in the mountains just above the valley.
Cast your line into the waters of the Green River as you float through Red Canyon. Watch rainbow and cutthroat trout as they dart through crystal clear waters, so many you could imagine taking a dip and grabbing one with your bare hands. This is just the beginning, one of countless special "blue-ribbon" fishing opportunities licensed anglers will discover in Utah. Within this land of color and contrast, hunters are sure to find their bliss. Utah is a haven for mule deer and elk hunting, in addition to a variety of game birds, such as the wild turkey and chukar grouse. Some hunting enthusiasts choose to try their luck at obtaining one of the limited numbers of permits issued to hunt big game such as black bear, bison, or mountain lion.
National parks, monuments, recreation areas as well as state parks and other open lands can offer an excellent experience for watching wildlife. Animals in parks are wild — visitors to Utah's national parks may encounter wildlife in their natural environment.
But as the National Park Service points out, with that privilege comes responsibility. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and for the safety of the animals, too. Simply put, leave animals alone—no touching, no feeding, no harassing.
Keep your distance, never approach wildlife and never attempt to feed wildlife. Enjoy your experience watching wildlife.