America's National Parks and Road Trip Planning Find Your Park Road Trip Activities Nature

Mesa Verde National Park Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing in Mesa Verde offers a greater diversity than the casual visitor might imagine. Almost everyone spots a mule deer somewhere along the road as they enter the park. The only time these deer are not visible is in the middle of winter when snow drives them south into the warmer valley areas. Since the reintroduction of wild turkeys in 1991, many visitors are delighted to see these turkeys along the park entrance road or in Morefield Campground. The campground is a good place to look for ground squirrels, skunks, or an occasional black bear. Remember that black bears are wild so put food out of reach when you camp and never feed any wild animals.

To view other wildlife, you may want to get up early in the morning or wait until dusk. You might see a coyote, gray fox, mountain lion, black bear, elk, marmot, or even a porcupine. Between Far View and the Headquarters area, you have a good chance to see a coyote, cottontail rabbit, or possibly a jackrabbit. Be on the lookout for trespass horses along the road to Wetherill. These horses have crossed the boundary from the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation and casually graze along the roads within the park. If you go to Spruce Tree House, you may see an Albert's or Chickory Squirrel. The long ears, silver color, and bushy white tail of the Albert's squirrel make it a favorite sighting.

Regardless of where you see wildlife in Mesa Verde, remember that these are wild animals roaming freely in their natural habitat. Feeding these creatures is not only illegal, it is also harmful to their health. Use your binoculars and take pictures when you can, but keep your distance from animals such as mountain lion or bear. At night one of these animals might scurry across the road in front of your car so drive slowly and carefully. Look or listen for owls if you are camping in Morefield or staying at the Far View Lodge. Mesa Verde is fortunate to have great horned, spotted, long-eared, pygmy, saw whet, and flammulated owls within its boundaries.

If you are fortunate enough to spot a rarely seen animal such as a mountain lion or bear, we ask you to fill out a wildlife sighting card to record your special sighting. Take your time and enjoy the diversity that Mesa Verde provides.

Common Mammals Common Birds Common Reptiles



Big Brown Bat

Black Bear

Blacktail Jackrabbit

Brush Mouse

Bushyrail Woodrat

California Myotis (Bat)

Canyon Mouse

Colorado Chipmunk


Deer Mouse

Desert Cottontail

Dwarf Shrew

Fringed Myotis

Golden-mantled Squirrel

Gray Fox

Gray Shrew (Desert Shrew)

Hoary Bat

House Mouse

Least Chipmunk

Little Brown Myotis (Bat)

Long Eared Myotis (Bat)

Long-legged Myotis

Longtail Weasel

Longtail Vole

Masked Shrew

Merriam Shrew

Mexican Freetail Bat

Mexican Vole

Mexican Woodrat

Mountain Cottontail

Mountain Lion

Mountain Vole

Mule Deer


Northern Grasshopper Mouse

Pallid Bat

Pinyon Mouse

Plains Pocket Mouse



Red Fox

Red Squirrel

Ringtail Cat

Rock Squirrel

Silky Pocket Mouse

Silver-haired Bat

Spotted Bat

Striped Skunk

Tassel-eared Squirrel

Valley Pocket Gopher

Western Big-eared Bat

Western Harvest Mouse

Western Pipistrel

Whitetail Antelope Squirrel

Whitetail Prairie Dog

Whitethroat Woodrat

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yuma Myotis

American Kestrel

American Robin

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Black-billed Magpie

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Brewer's Blackbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Canyon Wren

Cassin's Finch

Chipping Sparrow

Common Bushtit

Common Poor Will

Common Raven

Golden Eagle

Gray-headed Junco

Great Horned Owl

Green-tailed Towhee

Hairy Woodpecker

House Finch

House Wren

Juniper Titmouse

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Chickadee

Mourning Dove

Northern Flicker

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Pine Siskin

Pinyon Jay

Red-tailed Hawk

Rosy Finch

Rufous-sided Towhee

Savannah Sparrow

Scrub Jay

Sharp-skinned Hawk

Solitary Vireo

Steller's Jay

Townsend's Solitaire

Turkey Vulture

Violet-green Swallow

Virginia's Warbler

Western Tanager

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-throated Swift

Yellow-rumped Warbler


Collared Lizard

Northern Plateau Lizard

Prairie Rattlesnake

Sagebrush Lizard

Short-horned Lizard

Six-lined Racerunner

Yellow-bellied Racer

Featured Outdoor Gear

$299.97 40% off
Versatile and highly comfortable, the Dalbello Veloce 85 GW Ski Boot thrives at the ski resort. The 85-rated flex is...
Price subject to change | Available through

National Park Spotlight
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Featured Wildlife
Maine Puffins
Maine Puffins

Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.