Bryce Canyon National Park is one of my favorite places. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and brings a big smile to my face.
This was our second visit, so I expected to see things that I had previously seen. However, this time I was amazed at the variety of wildlife we saw while hiking.
The Bryce Canyon National Park boasts of 59 species of mammals,175 species of birds & 11 species of reptiles.
We caught glimpses of most while hiking diverse landscape and geological features, including a cute bear cub playing around a tree stump one sunny afternoon!
Here’s a of 10 amazing sightings we had during our hikes.
The Utah Prairie Dog
We saw the UTAH Prairie Dog in Bryce Canyon National Park. They’re cute and small, but they’re not very cuddly.
We saw this one sitting on top of a rock formation, and it seemed to be checking us out as much as we were checking him out. It’s hard to tell with animals, but he seemed like he was trying to figure us out too.
The prairie dog is a member of the squirrel family, but this one has some distinctive features that set it apart from other members of its family. For example, it has large ears and a long tail that help it keep cool in its hot environment.
Prairie dogs are also known for their elaborate burrows that can be over two feet tall! The burrows provide protection from predators and also serve as homes for their families.
We had the rare sight of black bears in Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of my favorite places to visit in Utah. The natural beauty of this park is breathtaking, especially during sunrise and sunset when there is a beautiful glow on the canyon walls.
On our most recent trip there, we had a very unique experience with black bears!
The first time we saw a black bear was while driving down Highway 63 towards the park entrance.
The second time we saw black bears was at Sunset Point, which is one of my favorite places to watch the sun set in Bryce Canyon.
While we were sitting there enjoying the view, a female with 2 cubs came walking up from behind us! They started sniffing around for food and the cubs found a tree stum that kept them busy for an hour!
We hiked up to Inspiration Point and got this incredible view of Bryce Canyon from above. I was standing there taking photos when I turned around and saw a mountain lion walking through the trees behind me!
The mountain lion walked through the trees until it disappeared behind some rocks. We were all very excited but also very scared because we could not see where it had gone!
We kept looking around until we finally spotted it again, but this time it was right next to us on another trail!
We were all so excited that we had seen a mountain lion that close up! It is such an amazing experience when you get to see wildlife in its natural environment like this!
We saw Mule Deer everywhere in Bryce Canyon National Park, especially during sunset when they would come out of the shadows to graze on the lush grasses.
After a long day of hiking and exploring the park, it was great to come back to our cabin at Sunset Campground and see these beautiful animals just outside our front door.
The best time to see mule deer is during late afternoon and early evening hours. They tend to move around more at this time and can be seen grazing or walking into the forest for cover. It’s amazing how quickly they can disappear into the woods if startled by human activity.
It’s also fun to watch them play! Mule deer are very social animals and love playing together. They’ll often play fight with each other by kicking each other with their hind legs or jumping up and down on top of each other – much like kids at recess!
Bryce Canyon is known for its many hoodoos (rock formations that resemble humans, animals or other shapes) and for the beautiful colors in the rocks.
The hoodoos are created when erosion causes different layers of rock to break away from each other. Rattlesnakes call these formations home and can be seen easily – if you look!
While we were in Bryce Canyon National Park, we saw Steller’s Jay. These birds are also known as Canada Jays, or Blue Jays. They live in the coniferous forests of North America and are common to most of the United States.
Steller’s Jays are very vocal and they often make their presence known with a loud call that sounds like “Jay! Jay!” They usually eat seeds, insects and berries. They also like peanut butter sandwiches!
We were driving through Bryce Canyon National Park and stopped to take some photos of the hoodoos. We were about to start hiking when we spotted a group of pronghorns.
A few were eating, but most were just standing around looking at us. I was excited because I had never seen one before, so I walked closer to get a better look.
The pronghorns started running away from me when I got about 20 feet away from them, so I took some photos before we continued on our hike.
Bryce Canyon National Park is considered to be a prime location for viewing Peregrine Falcons. This raptor is one of the fastest animals in the world, so it is not surprising that it has adapted well to the cliffs and canyons of Bryce Canyon.
Peregrine Falcons are large birds with long wings and tails. They have pointed wings and feet. The male and female Peregrine Falcons look similar in appearance, but they can be distinguished by their colors. The males are predominantly gray or blue-gray, while females are brown or reddish-brown.
Rocky Mountain Elk
Rocky Mountain elk are known to frequent the area and are sometimes spotted in or near the parks at the higher elevations. We saw them in the fir and spruce forest at the southern end of Bryce Canyon National Park.
The Clark’s Nutcracker is a common bird in Bryce Canyon National Park. It usually stays high in the trees, but we saw one that landed on a rock near the entrance to the park.
If you are planning a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, or just interested in wildlife in general, this list provides a glimpse into some of the local wildlife to look out for while hiking.
It is not a comprehensive list, so be sure to take advantage of rangers and guides that can help point out the wildlife specific to your area and where you plan on going!