Most people go to Grand Canyon National Park to see a big hole in the ground. They’re not thinking about the wildlife associated with this amazing ecosystem. Bats, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, falcons, turkeys, ring-tailed cats, squirrels to name a few. It’s been our fortune over the years to see quite a few of the list.
You can easily see some when it comes wandering into your campsite. Each evening this year we were visited by a huge mule deer buck, sometimes two. You can see others simply by keeping your eyes open as you wander the park. It’s commonplace to see elk while driving. One night, driving from the village to Mather, a pair of gray fox crossed the road in front of me. While on the trail, you’re likely to see California Condor and Dall Sheep on rocks and cliffs. Bring your binoculars and good telephoto lens!
What’s most important is to leave wildlife alone. Give them space. And be brazen about telling others the same. It’s both for your health and theirs. I biked around the corner to see one idiot with a camera walking right up to a cow and her calf. The elk spun on him, he fell backward to the ground and was nearly trampled. This is not a petting zoo.
We also happened on a mule deer fawn. Because adult deer have much more scent than infants, parents will often hide them for safety. Tourists nearly found, frightened to death or estranged this fawn with their excitement.
There are so many amazing opportunities to learn about wildlife in our national parks. This includes interpretive centers that are creative and entertaining in displaying information about wildlife. It also includes exceptional educational staff who are willing and accessible to teach you.
With enough time, you’ll even get tired of elk.