11 Animals Prescott National Forest Showed us While Hiking!

Prescott National Forest wildlife

Taking a hike in the Prescott National Forest can be an adventure all its own. Not only can you enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful outdoors, but you also may come across some amazing wildlife! In this article, we’ll take a look at 11 animals that we encountered during our recent trek through the forest and discuss what makes each one so special. So grab your hiking boots, get ready to explore nature’s wonders, and let’s head off into the wilderness!


We spotted this coyote early in the morning, just as the sun was starting to peek through the trees. He was trotting along the edge of a clearing, stopping every so often to sniff the ground. He didn’t seem to be paying any attention to us and we were able to watch him for several minutes before he disappeared into the brush.

Coyote Prescott National Forest wildlife

We were lucky to get such an up close and personal view of a coyote in Prescott National Forest. We’ve heard stories from other hikers who have seen them in the area, but this was our first time. It was an exciting experience and one we won’t soon forget!


Prescott National Forest is home to a wide variety of animals, including the Bobcat. We had the chance to see one up close and personal during our hike through the forest and it was an incredible experience.

Bobcat Prescott National Forest wildlife

The Bobcat is a small to medium-sized cat that is found throughout North America. They are most active at night and are excellent hunters. Bobcats typically weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and are about twice the size of a house cat.

Their fur is generally tan with black spots and streaks, although their appearance can vary depending on their location. 

These amazing animals are incredibly adaptable and can live in a wide range of habitats, from forests to deserts. In Prescott National Forest, they can be found stalking prey in the underbrush or climbing trees in pursuit of birds.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a Bobcat on your next hike through Prescott National Forest, take a moment to appreciate these incredible creatures before continuing on your way.

Black bear

Prescott National Forest is home to a variety of animals, including the black bear. Black bears are usually shy and avoid contact with humans, but they are wild animals and can be dangerous. If you see a black bear in the forest, do not approach it. Instead, make yourself as small as possible and slowly back away.

Black bear Prescott National Forest wildlife

If the bear does not seem to be bothered by your presence, you may continue on your way. However, if the bear appears to be agitated or aggressive, it is best to leave the area immediately.

Mule deer

Mule deer are one of the most popular animals in Prescott National Forest. You can often see them grazing along the sides of the trail or in open meadows. They are shy and elusive, but if you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of one running through the forest.

Mule deer Prescott National Forest wildlife

The mule deer is the most common ungulate in the park. They are active during the day and spend their time feeding on grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation. Mule deer typically inhabit open meadows and can be seen grazing along trails, roadways, and other cleared areas. During winter months they may move to escape deep snow cover in search of better food sources. 


Elk in Prescott National Forest are a special treat for any hiker lucky enough to encounter them. These majestic creatures are the largest member of the deer family, and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds! Seeing an elk in the wild is an unforgettable experience, and one that you’re sure to treasure forever.

Elk Prescott National Forest wildlife

While they are most active in the early morning and evening hours, elk can be seen grazing in meadows and forest clearings at all times of day. If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these beautiful animals, be sure to give them plenty of space and respect their territory. Elk are wild animals and should not be approached or fed by humans.

If you have the opportunity to see an elk in Prescott National Forest, take advantage of it! It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.


We were thrilled to see a javelina while we were hiking in Prescott National Forest! Javelinas are interesting creatures and it was neat to watch it forage for food. We learned that javelinas are actually members of the pig family and they are native to the southwestern United States. They are usually dark brown or black in color and have a white stripe down their back. Javelinas typically weigh between 20-40 pounds and are about 2-3 feet long.

Javelina Prescott National Forest wildlife

When we saw the javelina in Prescott National Forest, it was foraging for food. Javelinas are omnivores and eat a variety of plants and animals. They eat fruits, nuts, insects, fungi, lizards, rodents, and occasionally carrion. We were careful not to disturb the javelina as they can be aggressive when they feel threatened. We enjoyed watching it from a safe distance!

Mountain lion

Mountain lions are an apex predator in the Prescott National Forest and can be found stalking their prey through the forest’s dense vegetation. These massive cats can grow up to eight feet in length and weigh over 200 pounds, making them a formidable opponent for any animal unlucky enough to cross their path. 

Mountain lion Prescott National Forest wildlife

Although they typically avoid humans, mountain lions have been known to attack people if they feel threatened or cornered. If you’re lucky enough to spot a mountain lion while hiking in the Prescott National Forest, be sure to give them a wide berth and never turn your back on them.

It is important to be aware that mountain lion sightings are increasing in the Prescott National Forest due to mild winters and an increase in their prey. Hikers should always remain alert and watch for mountain lions while enjoying the beautiful scenery. 

If you do encounter one, make yourself look as big as possible, back away slowly and never run. It is also a good idea to avoid hiking or camping alone in areas with known mountain lion activity.


The Prescott National Forest is home to many different types of animals, including squirrels. There are several different species of squirrels that live in the forest, including the Abert’s squirrel, the red squirrel, and the gray squirrel.

Squirrels Prescott National Forest wildlife

The Abert’s squirrel is one of the most common types of squirrels in the Prescott National Forest. These furry creatures are easily recognizable by their large tails and dark fur. They are generally found in trees and bushes, where they feed on acorns and other nuts.

The red squirrel is another type of squirrel that is commonly found in the Prescott National Forest. These Squirrels have reddish-brown fur and are slightly smaller than the Abert’s Squirrel. They are also proficient tree-climbers, and often build their nests in the branches of trees. Like the Abert’s Squirrel, the red squirrel feeds primarily on nuts and seeds.

The gray squirrel is the largest type of squirrel that lives in the Prescott National forest. These animals have gray fur and can grow up to two feet long (including their tail). Gray squirrels are not as proficient at climbing trees as other types of Squirrels, but they make up for this by being excellent swimmers. They often build their nests in hollowed-out tree trunks or in abandoned bird nests. Gray squirrels diet consists mainly of nuts, berries, and insects.


Prescott National Forest is home to many different types of animals, including chipmunks! These little guys are always busy collecting food and storing it away for winter. We were lucky enough to see a few during our hike and they were so cute!

Chipmunks Prescott National Forest wildlife

Chipmunks are most active during the day and mainly live on the ground in wooded areas. During the cooler months, they tend to be more active during dawn and dusk. They feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects and other small invertebrates.

As for Prescott National Forest specifically, chipmunks can be found in many different areas. Common locations include pine-oak woodlands, grasslands, meadows and riparian habitats near streams or rivers. Chipmunks are also known to inhabit old ruins of human dwellings.

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is a small woodpecker that is common throughout North America. It is a member of the Picidae family, which includes other woodpeckers, such as the Hairy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. 

Downy Woodpecker Prescott National Forest wildlife

The Downy Woodpecker was first described by Linnaeus in his 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758. The Downy Woodpecker is black and white, with a black back, white underparts, and a black cap. It has a white stripe running down its back, and its wings are barred with black and white. The adult male has a red patch on the back of its head, while the female has a white patch. Both sexes have a white rump.

The Downy Woodpecker can be found in forests, woodlands, and parks across North America. In Prescott National Forest, it can be found in the ponderosa pine forests at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet. The bird nests in holes that it excavates in trees, often using abandoned holes made by other birds such as flickers (Colaptes) or sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus). The nest is lined with wood chips and hair. Both parents help to incubate the eggs and care for the young birds.

The Downy Woodpecker feeds on insects, such as beetles and ants, which it finds by pecking at tree bark or probing into  crevices with its long, pointed bill. It also eats fruits, nuts, and seeds. Its diet is supplemented in winter by suet at bird feeders.

The Downy Woodpecker is an important species in many North American forests, acting as a keystone species that controls insect populations. It is also an important part of the local ecosystem due to its role in pollinating plants and dispersing seeds.

Gambel’s Quail

Gambel’s Quail are a species of bird found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In Prescott National Forest, these quail can be found in the chaparral and oak woodlands. These birds get their name from William Gambel, who was an American naturalist. 

Gambels Quail Prescott National Forest wildlife

The males have a very distinct plumage, with a gray body and black belly. The tail is black with white stripes, and there is a crest on the head that is also black. Females look similar to males, but they are usually smaller and their plumage is not as strikingly colored. Juvenile Gambel’s Quail look like females, but their plumage is even duller. 

Gambel’s Quail are social creatures, and they often travel in groups called “coveys”. These coveys can range in size from just a few birds to over 100 individuals. During the breeding season, males will establish territories and try to attract females by calling out to them. If a female likes what she hears, she will enter the male’s territory and they will mate. 

Both parents help to care for the young chicks. The female will incubate the eggs while the male stands guard nearby. Once the chicks hatch, both parents will feed them insects and other small invertebrates. The chicks grow quickly and they are usually ready to leave the nest after just two weeks. 


Prescott National Forest is a unique and beautiful part of Arizona. During our hike, we were lucky enough to spot some amazing wildlife that call this area home. From deer, elk, and coyotes to hawks, hummingbirds, and even bears – the park provides plenty of opportunities for nature lovers to explore the wilderness around them. We are very grateful for the opportunity to experience Prescott National Forest up close and personal!

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