Wildlife Viewing | Animals to See in Capitol Reef Country

Capitol Reef Wildlife

Capitol Reef Country Wildlife


The magpie is a common bird throughout Wayne County.  It is recognized by its large size, long tail and black and white coloration.  The magpie is loud, social and very smart.  They have one partner and usually stay in one general area.


Yes, we have bear in Capitol Reef Country! Black bears can be found in 41 states in the U.S. They are shy and in most cases avoid contact with humans.  Accidental encounters are possible, and usually occur in heavily forested areas or near water sources. Please remember to keep a clean camp and secure your food and trash. If you are lucky enough to see one of these beautiful and powerful creatures do not approach it. Back away. Make lots of noise and do not surprise it. If you feel threatened, hold your ground, yell, scream, or throw rocks. A black bear is one of nature’s great animals and deserves a great deal of respect.


Most people think these desert rodents are cute. These rats have a plump,  dumpy little body with large hind legs, large eyes, and small hairless rounded ears. They are pale in color. There is usually a white band of fur that crosses the hips from the base of the tail. The normal overall length of a kangaroo rat averages 9-14 inches. They have a long tail that acts as a balance when the animal is making long hops. The tracks of a hopping animal show only the marks of the hind feet and the tail. The rats come out only at night when it is cool, and when there is a minimum amount of evaporation. The primary food for these rodents is seeds – mesquite, creosote bush, purslane, ocotillo, and grama grass.


Marmots are the largest ground-dwelling squirrels in the region and are brown to yellowish brown with yellowish bellies. They have heavy bodies with short legs, small ears, and bushy tails. Marmots range in weight from 5 to 10 pounds and measure one to two feet in length, with a five to seven inch tail. In April and May, the females give birth to three to six naked and blind young in grass-lined dens. Their habitats vary from talus slopes to pastures with large boulders. These burrowing animals sometimes spend as much as eight months of the year underground and begin hibernation as early as September. When danger encroaches, the marmots let out high-pitched chirps so the group can scurry to safety. These mammals are also referred to as “whistle pigs.”


While you are out exploring the area, you may encounter the Pinyon Jay. This bird is 9-11” long, with all gray-blue plumage, a long slender bill, and no crest on its head. It is a social bird both friendly and loud.  These birds search mainly for pinyon or pine nuts and seeds, as well as insects and berries. Pinyon jays build bulky nests of sticks, twigs, and fibers in pinyons, junipers, and shrubs. These birds do not establish pair bonds until their third year, but afterward the pairs remain together year-round.


Porcupines are gray brown, with chunky bodies, high arching backs, and short legs. Yellowish hair covers their long quills all over their backs, rumps, and tails. These rodents are approximately two feet in length, with an 8” tail, and weigh between 10-28 pounds. Next to the beaver, they are the largest rodent in Utah. Porcupines are active year-round. Porcupines eat green plants, grass, and leaves in summer and tree bark in the winter. They are slow moving animals with poor eyesight, yet they are equipped with thousands of barbed quills for protection against predators. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not throw their quills; quills are released from the porcupine’s body and penetrate the attacker’s skin.


When you travel the wide open country of the sagebrush plains or down in the desert of the San Rafael, keep your eyes peeled for the pronghorn antelope. These deer sized animals have the distinct markings of antelope from the African Savannah. It is often said that a pronghorn does not look like it belongs here. Males and females both can have horns, but the male horns curve back and grow quite large. Pronghorns can be seen in small herds or by themselves. When this animal senses danger it can go from a dead stop to 50 mph in a flash. The pronghorn antelope is the fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere. UTAH PRAIRIE DOGS


The Utah Prairie Dog is fawn colored, sprinkled with black on the back and sides with white bellies and small ears.  They can be seen spring to fall at higher elevations in Wayne County, on the Aquarius Plateau.  As you hike or drive by, look for the obvious mounds around the burrow.  Sit and wait quietly for five minutes and you may see him stick his head up!  The Utah Prairie Dog is endangered and is protected by federal law.

Capitol Reef Wildlife and Outdoor Guides sorted by community

  • Fremont

    Fremont River Outfitters

    Hc 61 Box 191 , Fremont, UT, 84747 Phone: 435-836-2135 • Email
    Big game hunts, photography trips, horseback riding, fishing. We tailor our trips to your needs.
  • Bicknell

    Fremont River Guides

    PO BOX 186 , Bicknell, Utah, 84715 Phone: (435) 491-0242 • EmailWebsite
    Experienced fly-fishing guides offering quality fly-fishing excursions on all streams and lakes of the Boulder Mountains, Fremont River drainage, Fishlake Mountain and Thousand Lakes Mountain. Small to large corporate groups for the neophyte or discriminating flyfisher.
  • Loa

    The Quiet Fly Fisher Guide Service

    17 East 200 North , Loa, Utah, 84747 Phone: 435-616-2319 • EmailWebsite
    A small local guide service that covers Boulder, Thousand Lake, Monroe Mountains, Fremont River, Fish Lake and more. Full days, Half days. 2 to 3 hour sneak aways. Lunch provided and all equipment if needed. Experience beautiful quiet fly fishing.
  • Torrey

    Backcountry Outfitters

    Jct. of Hwys 12 and 24 , Torrey, Utah, 84775 Phone: 1-866-747-3973 • EmailWebsite
    1 hour, 2 hour, 1/2 & full day rides in Capitol Reef, Boulder Mountain, & Thousand Lakes Mountain. Over night & custom pack trips offeres spring, summer, and fall. Guided Fly Fishing trips on public or private water including Fremont River & Boulder Mountain lakes. Full & half day packages. Use our equipment or bring your own. Stock up in our Fly shop. (rods, reels, flys, line, accessories). Interpretive 4×4 tours in Capitol Reef National Park, Escalante Grand Staircas, & the Aquarius Plateau of Boulder Mountain. Professional & knowledgable guides introduce you to incredible scenery, wildlife, & archeological sites. We do the driving! Lunch included. Aquarius Plateau wildlife tour offers opportunities to view Elk, Deer, Antelpe, Bald & Golden Eagles, & more, plus scenery. Guided day hikes & custom backpacking trips in all of souther Utah. Complete outfitting service, custom itineraries, & professional guide service.

    Capitol Reef Four Wheel Drive Self Guided Tours

    1050 West Highway 24 , Torrey, Utah, 84775 Phone: 1-800-355-8995 • EmailWebsite
    435-425-3500, 800-355-8995, 1050 West Highway 24, Torrey, UT 84775. Located at Thousand Lakes RV Park. Specializing in self guided tours of Cathedral Valley.

    Fremont River Guides & Retail Store

    135 East Main Street , Torrey, Utah, 84775 Phone: 435-491-0242 • EmailWebsite
    Experienced fly-fishing guides offering quality fly-fishing excursions on all streams and lakes of the Boulder Mountains, Fremont River drainage, Fishlake Mountain and Thousand Lakes Mountain. Small to large corporate groups for the neophyte or discriminating flyfisher. Jeep Tours, ATV tours, and retail store.

    Hondoo Rivers & Trails

    90 East Main Street Box 750098, Torrey, Utah, 84775 Phone: 435-425-3519 • EmailWebsite
    800-332-2696, Vehicle, horseback and hiking tours Daily & multi-day. Capitol Reef NP, Grand Staircase/Escalante NM and beyond. Since 1975. Shuttle services for hikers, bikers and hunters.

    Redrock Adventure Guides

    241 East 100 North PO Box 750190, Torrey, UT, 84775 Phone: 435-425-3339 • EmailWebsite
    Guided hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, photo tours and shuttles in the Capitol Reef area by long-time Backpacker Magazine Field Editor Steve Howe and a select staff of accomplices. We specialize in taking guests on magnificent wilderness routes we’ve uncovered during 20 years of personal exploration. Enroute we can provide informal instruction on history, geology, ecology, orienteering, photography, rope techniques or hiker safety. Easy or aggressive, quiet or informative, it’s your trip and your choice. Check out our website for photos, sample trips, and guest testimonials. “Custom Adventures. Real Wilderness.”

    Sundance Adventures

    PO Box 750301 , Torrey, UT, 84775 Phone: 1.435.691.4297 • EmailWebsite
    “Exploring Back of Beyond in Southern Utah,” we offer guided hikes, vehicle tours, shuttles, group tours, and overnight trips into the spectacular backcountry landscapes here. Experience the best parts of Capitol Reef with knowledgeable guides who are passionate about both the place as well as introducing it to our guests. Join us to discover secret waterfalls, soaring desert vistas, labyrinthine red rock canyons, fascinating ancient petroglyph panels carved into stone. Choose from a specific set of adventures, or we can custom tailor a trip to you specifications. Our guides take pride in their deep love knowledge of the area, and of being able to show you the best spots for incredible views and photos. Delicious lunches included. Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Aquarius Plateau, and beyond. Visit our website for trip details, photos, guest testimonials, and special deals.
  • Hanksville

    Get in The Wild Adventures

    P.O. Box 29 , Hanksville, UT, 84734 Phone: 1-818-381-9453 • Website
    Based in Hanksville, Utah, Get In the Wild Adventures offers a wide range of wilderness trips and courses in the most rugged, beautiful and awe-inspiring canyons in America. We operate in locations that few other guide services go including the Dirty Devil/Robber’s Roost Wilderness, Fiddler Butte Wilderness, French Springs Wilderness, Goblin Valley/San Rafael Swell and Capitol Reef National Park. From exciting hiking, backpacking, canyoneering and photography tours to family adventure vacations, vehicle basecamp vacations and hard core expeditions We have trips and programs for adventurers of all ages, interests and skill levels. Extraordinary Adventure Vacations in Southern Utah’s Wildest Places!

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