Bighorn sheep running in Zion National Park

Wildlife You Might Spot While Camping Zion

by | Jul 30, 2023

Camping Zion is a great way to experience the unique beauty of these incredible destinations. Zion Wildflower Resort combines the amenities of the best luxury hotels Zion National Park has to offer with a rugged camping experience. From our more rustic Watchman Tents to our modern Bungalows, we have a lodging option for every family.

One of the best things to do while camping Zion is to watch for wildlife. Zion and the surrounding area is home to hundreds of different species of mammals, reptiles, and birds. Keep reading to learn a few of the animals you might spot during your visit.

Bighorn Sheep

These magnificent creatures are icons of Zion’s rugged landscape. With their distinctive curved horns and incredible climbing abilities, desert bighorn sheep are well-adapted to Zion’s challenging terrain.

While these animals may be an icon of the park, encounters with them are somewhat rare. They are often seen traversing the rocky, steep cliff sides of the park, and their fur helps them blend into the scenery around them. If you’re lucky enough to spot one while camping Zion, keep your distance. These animals might not typically be aggressive, but as with any wildlife you spot, approaching them can cause unnecessary stress.

Mule Deer

On the opposite end of the spectrum from bighorn sheep are mule deer. These animals are one of the most common you’ll see in Zion, as well as in many other western parks. Graceful mule deer can be spotted throughout the park, but are especially common in meadows, along the edge of treelines, and near the Virgin River.

With their large ears and distinctive white rumps, mule deer are easy to recognize. While they might appear to be accustomed to humans and show little fear, it’s still very important to keep your distance. Feeding or approaching them can be harmful to their health and can disrupt their usual feeding patterns.

California Condor

Perhaps the most impressive animal you might spot while camping Zion is the California condor. This massive bird was once on the brink of extinction, but thanks to intensive conservation efforts in the area, including captive breeding and release programs, their numbers are on the rise. Today, around 70 California condors live in the wild between Arizona and Utah, with Zion falling right in the middle of their territory.

Zion has been home to several breeding pairs, and visitors often spot the California condor swooping through the Lower Canyon. Earlier this year, the 1,111th California condor born since the recovery program began was hatched in Zion National Park.

Golden Eagles

The skies above Zion are also home to the golden eagle. With their impressive hunting skills and powerful talons, these raptors dominate the aerial landscape. Watch for the gliding effortlessly above the canyon.

The park is also home to another breed of eagle, the bald eagle. This popular American symbol is easy to spot for its dark body and white head.

In total, nearly 300 species of birds reside in Zion. If you have a bird watcher staying with you in your Zion National Park accommodations, you’ll no doubt want to set aside some time to watch for these and other magnificent creatures that call the park home.

Western Collared Lizard

Some wildlife is easier to spot than others while camping Zion. The Western collared lizard, for instance, is often tough to see, thanks to its small size and quick speed. These reptiles are known for their vibrant blue and green hues. THey are lightning fast, and have a keen eye for their insect prey.


Ringtails are often mistaken for cats because of their size and appearance. But they are actually members of the raccoon family. These nocturnal creatures are skilled climbers and can be found in the park’s rocky habitats.

Despite their secretive nature, you might spot the distinctive pointed faces and ringed tails at night while camping Zion. 

Rock Squirrel

This next animal might be even more common than the mule deer in Zion, and even around some of the best luxury hotels Zion National Park has to offer. The rock squirrel is a member of the ground squirrel family but is often seen scrambling over boulders and rocks and climbing trees. They have a grayish-brown coat that allows them to blend easily into Zion’s landscape. 

While rock squirrels are abundant throughout the park, one great spot to view them is on the Riverside Walk, on the last stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle line. If you do see one during your stay in our Zion National Park accommodations, be sure to view them from a distance. Interactions with humans has made them appear friendly, but they actually carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans, and feeding or touching them can cause a lot of harm to these creatures.

Spotting Wildlife While Camping Zion

These are just a few of the creatures you might spot while camping Zion. Visiting the park at different times of the day is one great way to increase your odds of spotting different animals during your stay.

Ready to start planning your next outdoor adventure in Zion? Zion Wildflower Resort is one of the best—and most unique—Zion National Park accommodations. Our glamping tents turn camping Zion into a more comfortable experience. From plush beds to air conditioning to en-suite bathrooms, our tents are a unique experience your whole family will enjoy.

If you’re deciding where to stay in Zion National Park, book your stay at Zion Wildflower Resort today!

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