Wildlife Watching and The Wildlife at Yosemite

Yosemite Valley is surely one of the most beautiful regions in the US. This beautiful ecosystem is a home to hundreds of species of animals, birds, fish and reptiles. If you want to experience the true joy of being in the lap of mother earth, head on to the Yosemite National Park. You will not be able to surround yourself with the scenic beauty of nature but will also get a chance to look at the unique wildlife closely. Let’s discuss what you can expect to see in Yosemite Valley on your next visit. 

Wildlife At Yosemite – General Overview 


Yosemite is a home to more than 90 mammal species. The beautiful and unique creatures are extremely fascinating and the opportunity to look and observe them closely is a big deal. 


Yosemite has a small variety of amphibians as well. You can expect to see around 11 native and 1 non-native amphibians species on your wildlife tour. 


Yosemite is a paradise for bird watchers. With a variety of around 262 beautiful bird species, Yosemite has wonderful views to offer. You’ll be able to spot some of the most unique and stunning birds. 


Yosemite has a great variety of reptiles. There are around 22 species including 1 turtle, 1 skink, 7 lizards and 13 snakes. 


At lower elevations, you can find native fish species. But non-native species such as trout can be found anywhere in the park. 


Other than these categories, Yosemite harbours Goldenrod crab spider, centipedes, millipedes, bumblebee insects and few more unique bugs. Overall, Yosemite is a huge ecosystem that offers shelter to thousands of living creatures. 

What Animals You Can Expect To See In Yosemite? 

If you are planning a backpacking or hiking trip to the world-famous Yosemite National Park, you will be able to witness a good variety of animals. As we already discussed, there are over 400 species of mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians etc. Let’s have a look at some of the most unique and attractive animals at the park. 

American Black Bear 

American black bear is the first animal variety for what Yosemite is famous for. Spotting a black beer around the valley is very common as there are about 300 to 500 of these residing in the Yosemite National Park. These majestic creatures are very active, mostly at nights and early mornings. While they look so fascinating, you should always spot them from a distance of at least 50 yards instead of approaching them closely. However, you don’t have to be scared or worried about a bear attacking you because the chances are very rare. These creatures themselves run away on sighting a human. But they do attack your food, drinks and other belongings. So, always keep your food items protected in a food storage locker given by the staff at your campground. Also, avoid offering your food to the beers because it is unhealthy and may cause health issues in animals. 


Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera while visiting Yosemite Park. You will get to see some of the most beautiful animals of all shapes, colors and sizes. While there are bears, bobcats, marmots, songbirds, rabbits, squirrels etc, the most fascinating animals are the mule deers. Also known as the “black tailed deers”, these are so lovely to watch. They have beautiful large ears and black little tails, you’ll see them running and playing in the Meadows and open fields. You have to be very quiet if you want to see them closely otherwise they’ll hear you coming and run away. They are generally found at lower elevations in winters and at higher elevations in summer months. 

Fancy Birds

As we already gave a clue, Yosemite Valley is no less than a paradise to a bird enthusiast. Each year hundreds of bird fanciers visit the valley to have a look at the most beautiful feathered beauties of the world. It’s delightful to watch them foraging or chirping as they communicate among their flocks. Peregrine falcons with their bright yellow beaks soar at the tallest branches of trees while the huge grey owls begin hooting as the sunsets. This area has been named as the Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy after looking at its hospitality towards an astounding variety of birds. 

Sierra Nevada Big Horns

If you visit the northeast region of the park, you may also have some glimpse of the rare and endangered Sierra Nevada Big Horns. They are among the most sought-after wildlife to watch in the park. In fact, many wildlife enthusiasts wear GPS equipped collars to track these creatures and allow the experts to monitor their health. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to sight one of these bighorn sheep. Also, the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are considered to be highly docile but don’t try to approach any wild animal no matter how intimidating it looks. These bighorn sheep are normally found on the elevated terrains of the park. So, if you want to spot them, pack your binoculars and camera and hike on the higher terrains.


Bobcats as such are considered to be the elusive creatures but they are spotted multiple times in the park. Don’t be surprised after seeing a bobcat hunting its prey during the day time. However, you need not to be scared of these lovely cats because they don’t attack humans. In fact, bobcats are very important for the park as they keep the population of rodents under control. In other words, they maintain a balance in the ecosystem. 


Spotting a coyote is a very common thing while hiking in Yosemite’s campground. In fact, you can hear them howling from a distance before even seeing them. It is believed that coyotes enjoy howling in the same way we humans enjoy singing. Coyotes in general are very shy animals, they always try to avoid the humans and hide themselves. If you’re hiking on any trail in Yosemite park, rangers will recommend you to have a look at the meadows. This is the place where many animals come in the search of food. So, whenever you visit the park, take your time to see some fascinating animals in the park. 

How To Spot Wildlife In Yosemite National Park? 

Every year hundreds of nature lovers run towards the Yosemite National Park in flocks in search of beautiful mountains, luscious green forests, calm and crystal clear waterfalls, lakes and of course the astounding wildlife. With over 400 wildlife species, it can become hard to spot the fascinating animals in the park. With that in mind, here are the best ways to spot wildlife of Yosemite. 

Best Ways to Spot Wildlife of Yosemite 

  • Consider visiting with an experienced guide who knows about the park very well. The tour guides will not only recommend you the best places to visit the park but they’ll also take you to the best wildlife spots. Not just that, they will tell you about the different animal species in detail. 
  • Visit the meadows such as Tuolumne and Mariposa Grove as these are the places where the animals come to feed themselves. Head on to the higher terrains and you’ll get a few glimpses of the infamous giant sequoias. 
  • Go along with a park ranger. He will offer the best tips and tricks for wildlife viewing plus you’ll get to know the additional information about the park. 
  • Consider taking a wildlife tour for the smooth and hassle-free experience. Most of the tour packages include accommodation, food and travel as well. 

Important Tips for Wildlife Viewing

  • Stay quiet. If you want to look at the wildlife closely, control your excitement and avoid making noises otherwise the animals will hear you coming and will run away. 
  • Avoid going in large groups as they can scare the animals. You’ll never be able to spot the animals if there’s a huge crowd. 
  • To get the location details of animals, look at their footprints of tracks. 
  • Don’t disturb or try to manipulate the natural habitats of animals. Respect nature and don’t harm yourself or the animals in an attempt to spot them. 
  • Keep your binoculars handy. These will help you in spotting the animals closely. 
  • Don’t forget to take your camera with you. You’ll surely want to capture the astonishing beauty of nature and the wildlife. 
  • Don’t try to offer your food to the animals. Human food can be harmful to the animals. 
  • Don’t use any repellent spray on the animals to shoo them away. It’s inhumane and prohibited in the park as well. 

Final Words 

If you are a naturalist, then you should definitely visit the Yosemite National Park once in your lifetime. It is a beautiful ecosystem of thousands of animals, birds and natural attractions. Consider taking wildlife tours for having the best wildlife viewing experience at the park. Also, avoid getting close to the animals in an attempt to take photographs with them. Stay safe and have the best wildlife viewing experience! 

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