In between skiing, shopping, or visits to the Utah Olympic Park, you may find yourself noticing how extraordinarily beautiful the landscape is and want to get out and explore the natural side of Utah! Where there is nature, there is wildlife that follows, including bears, moose, marmots, and elk, all of which can best be seen in the spring or fall during the sunrise and sunset hours. If you think you might like to explore nature and spend a few hours watching the Park City wildlife that makes their homes in our mountain habitat, this guide to the best wildlife watching spots will ensure that you have the best chances to see them all. Just remember, these animals are not domesticated and you should give them their space and never try to touch or capture them!
Rundown Ranch Children’s Farm, 22 W Boulderville Road in Oakley
The surest way to catch sight of some wildlife during your Park City adventures is with a visit to the Rundown Ranch Children’s Farm, located just about 15 miles outside of town. Offering a chance to get up close and personal with all kinds of wild animals including buffalo, ostriches, and alpacas, you and your children can also get close to domesticated farm animals, such as cows, ponies, and adorably noisy goats. Say hello to the roly poly pigs, pet the soft bunnies, and if you are visiting during the spring, watch all the new babies hanging out with their mommies!
Red Pine Gondola, Mid-Mountain
Although you won’t be close to the action as you ride the Red Pine Gondola up the mountain to your chosen ski trail, be sure to keep an eye out as hungry moose move away from their hiding spots out into public on the search for food during the cold winter. Interestingly, these massive animals may even be spotted in downtown Park City as they forage further and further from their comfort zones, a scene reminiscent of an opening scene from a popular television series that aired in the 1990s!
Park City Golf Course, 1541 Thaynes Canyon Drive
No we haven’t lost our marbles, the natural setting of the Park City Golf Course often lends itself to wildlife viewing, especially during rutting season in September. The elk that roam the mountains answer an inner call and head to the valley to mate with their opposite sex counterparts and can be seen at the oddest places, including the Park City Golf Course, ensuring that even if you have a high score, you will still have a good game! Who else can say that their shot was interrupted by an elk bounding across the path of their ball?
The Union Pacific Rail Trail
This beautiful trail stretches out 28 miles and leads you from Park City to Echo Reservoir and is a hotspot for viewing many wildlife species. Stay quiet and catch a glimpse shy foxes, timid deer, and the occasional beaver building its dam as you hike or bike through the verdant countryside. Plan ahead and pack binoculars that you will have focused on the sky for a peek at the winged creatures who live to fly. Bald eagles and herons are two of the larger species you might spot along the trail, but there are destined to be a variety of birds who live in the trees you hike by on trails that are wide and well kept. Silver Creek flows by for 14 of the 28 miles of the rail trail, increasing the opportunity to catch sight of much of our local wildlife coming out to feed and hydrate. At one point, your hike will take you by an excavation site in which mammoths from the Ice Age have been found, dug up, and preserved!
Swaner Nature Preserve, 1258 Center Drive
Offering a 10,000-square-foot environmental education center and over 1200 acres of protected land, the ultimate in wildlife watching can take place right here at this worthy establishment! Also offering a live webcam that allows you to preview some of the scenes you will see during your visit, you can often catch glimpses of elk, deer, and cranes during your visit to the preserve. Beaver dams are prevalent on the waters that run through the region, and during their weekly Saturday morning nature walks, you won’t just see some wildlife, you will learn about their habits, about the plants, bushes, and trees that thrive at the Preserve, and the history of the Preserve itself. Sign up to participate in building a Beaver Dam Analog (similar to the dams the beavers build, they help mimic the benefits of natural ones) and enjoy the opportunity to see parts of the preserve that are not normally open to visitors.
After a long day spent following the wildlife that make their home in and around Park City, coming home to the tamer comforts found in our Park City Vacation Rentals naturally beautiful sanctuaries will be the highlight of your travels. Reserve yours today!