Zion National Park is home to over 78 species of mammals, 291 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 8 species of fish and over 900 species of plants. Here are a few of the highlights of some of the most common animals, reptiles, and plants that people may see during their time at Zion National Park. Please be respectful of the animals and flowers in Zion and do not feed the animals or pick flowers.
Zion National Park Animals
Bighorn Sheep– It is not extremely common to see bighorn sheep in Zion National Park, however in recent years many visitors have seen them on the east side of the park as you are driving through the slick rock area of the canyon in your car. I saw them at least twice this summer right near the road early in the morning. They are amazing animals and a sight to be seen. The female sheep actually weigh more than their male counterparts at over 300 pounds. The curved horns are found on both sexes and are truly beautiful.
Mule Deer- Mule deer are seen almost everywhere in the main section of Zion National Park. These deer are very used to humans and seem not to mind the swarms of tourists near them. Your best chance to see lots of them are near the Temple of Sinawava or near the South Campground. Male mule deer shed their antlers in the winter and grow new ones each year. These deer seem to be very skinny compared to their counterparts up north due to the scarcity of vegetation throughout the canyon.
Squirrels- Squirrels are everywhere in Zion, especially on the Riverside Walk. These animals are extremely used to humans and a lot of them appear fat, probably because tourists feed them food. Do not feed the squirrels food because it can make them aggressive and difficult for them to survive in the wild on their own.
Mountain Lions- Mountain Lions are extremely rare to find in Zion National Park; however they are out there. They usually stay away but you might see one if you are hiking in a remote canyon near Kolob.
Zion National Park Birds
Eagles- Both golden and bald eagles are occasionally seen at Zion National Park. Golden eagles are sometimes spotted in the canyons and plateaus; while the golden eagle is normally seen near the Virgin River or another water source looking for fish. The golden eagle is brown and black whereas the bald eagle has a white head and a yellow bill.
Red-Tailed Hawk- The red-tailed hawk can be seen year around in Zion. You can often see them glide over open areas as they look for prey. The red-tailed hawk has a white chest and brown feathers besides the tail which is a red rust color.
Zion National Park Reptiles
Snakes- It is common to see a snake on one of the trails in Zion but don’t worry they aren’t poisonous and should leave you alone unless it is a rattlesnake.
Lizards- You can’t go very far in Zion during the summer without seeing a lizard of some sort. The two most common lizards are the Mountain Short-Horned Lizard and the Northern Sagebrush lizard.
Zion Canyon Plants
Ponderosa Pine-With pine needles that can be up to 10 inches long Ponderosa Pines can be seen all over Zion National Park. You can tell a Ponderosa Pine by smelling the bark which smells similar to vanilla and has reddish brown pine cones that are egg shaped.
Indian Paintbrush- Found in some locations in Zion Indian Paintbrush or Castilleja is beautiful. The plants are green with red flowers. This plant is technically edible in moderation. I have seen this plant flowering on the West Rim Trail and at higher elevations.
Prickly Pear Cactus- This is one of the most common types of cactus and probably one of the most recognizable. Prickly pears have flattened paddle shaped pads covered with spines. They are usually found in the dryer parts of the park.
This list only covers the most common types of animals and plants but as you adventure throughout Zion National Park you are likely to see a lot of different types of species of animals and plants.