5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Utah

5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Utah

Birdwatching is kind of like treasure-hunting: the search is rewarding and gives you access to special moments you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. Birdwatchers note that in the process, you become more aware of the beauty in the world and more in tune with nature. Utah is home to a wide variety of birds that make birdwatching especially wonderful. If you’re looking to bird watch, these five hikes provide the perfect opportunity.  

1. Big Springs Trail, Provo Canyon, UT

Big Springs Trail feels like a hidden oasis far removed from civilization. And even though it is easy to get there, it is far removed. The scenic alpine trail doesn’t receive a ton of traffic, which means that it’s a great spot for birdwatching. Hikers report seeing northern pygmy owls, great horned owls, common ravens, song sparrows, wild turkeys, mountain bluebirds, and many other types of birds. The trail’s variety is nice, and you’ll enjoy several miles of serenity along the way. Below the trail, there are a number of parks that make for nice picnic or barbecue spot if you’re interested in making the hike into a group day activity.


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2. Ben Lomond Peak, Ogden, UT

You don’t necessarily expect to get great birdwatching on top of a 9,712-foot-high mountain. But with so much ground to cover (15.2 miles out and back, to be specific) there’s no doubt you’ll run into some spectacular birdwatching along the way. That said, hiking Ben Lomond Peak is not for beginners of any sort. It is the highest peak overlooking the Ogden Valley. You should be in good shape before doing this hike, otherwise you probably won’t have enough energy to sufficiently enjoy the birdwatching. If you’re not interested in taking the time to hike to the very top of the peak, you can always cut the hike short and make it less of a strenuous experience and more of a relaxing one that allows you to get in touch with nature without exhausting yourself or your time. 

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3. Lakeside Trail, Antelope Island, UT

Antelope Island isn’t necessarily your average paradise. It’s a rugged landscape with amazing views of the lake and a ton of bugs. That said, the wildlife on this island is worth the copious amounts of bug spray. Birdwatchers are in for a treat here, because the island is home to plenty of interesting birds, including various types of water birds as well as Golden eagles and bald eagles during anytime of the year. And although the island is home to a seemingly endless amount of trails, the Lakeside Trail is particularly close to the water, giving you better views of water birds. In addition, the hike isn’t very difficult, but its length gives you quite a bit of distance to see a multiplicity of different birds. 

4. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Brigham City, UT

Prepare for a birdwatching experience unlike any other. Birders from all over will flock to Bear River to catch sight of everything from white-faced ibis to American white pelicans to snowy plovers. It all depends on the time of year that you visit. Encompassing nearly 80,000 acres, there will be plenty to discover and explore at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. 

5. Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Dugway, UT

Situated around 100 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, the incredibly remote Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuse will treat birdwatchers to something special. Of the area’s 17,992 acres, 10,000 are wetlands. This creates an ecosystem that is flourishing with a wide range of incredible bird species. At Fish Springs, birdwatchers will be able to see trumpeter and tundra swans, American white pelicans, sandhill cranes, ospreys, bald eagles, rough-legged hawks, and much more.  

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