Sedona’s Watchable Wildlife
Wildlife is abundant within the park with sightings occurring regularly, and wildlife viewing opportunities are always a possibility at Red Rock. Mule deer, javelina, coyotes, and bobcats are all commonly seen by visitors throughout the year, as well as a wide variety of birds. Blacktail rattlesnakes are seen on occasion during the warmer months as well as tarantulas and a variety of lizards. If you’re lucky, you may see one of the resident river otters in Oak Creek while walking along Smoke Trail! Learn where to view Arizona’s diverse wildlife species throughout your state park system on the Arizona Wildlife page.
Mule Deer are year-round residents of the park and can often be seen from roads or while hiking the numerous trails found here. Though typically secretive in nature, the mule deer inhabiting Red Rock are somewhat used to people and will often allow some quick photos to be taken before either fleeing or moving off into the thick riparian areas which shield them from the lens. While trying to take advantage of a photo opportunity, please remember to keep your distance however so both you and the deer remain safe and happy during your encounter.
To increase your likelihood of seeing mule deer within the park, arrive early or stay late because these deer are most active during the hours closest to sunrise and sunset. Also, while hiking, keep sounds to a minimum while looking ahead for subtle movements within the vegetation. A pair of small binoculars may help you find them as well, or give you a closer look after they’ve been spotted.
In addition to deer, javelina are also found within the park and their antics are typically entertaining which adds a ton of value to any trip to this beautiful location. As herd animals, when javelina are encountered there are typically more nearby. Be on the lookout for others in the area using your eyes, ears, and even nose! The distinct odor of javelina is similar to that of a skunk and will often alert visitors to their presence. As with the mule deer, please leave ample space between yourself and the javelina while enjoying them in the park.
As relatively nearsighted animals, javelina may be unaware of your presence while you watch them in the park. Please be certain you give these wild animals ample space, and if necessary, let them know you are there by talking calmly to them. Above all, enjoy these unique native Arizona residents in their natural habitat.
Coyotes can be seen in the park on a regular basis, although they typically don’t stick around for long. As primarily a nocturnal creature, a great deal of their activity takes place at night when the park is closed. On occasion, they can be seen hunting for rodents during daylight hours near sunrise or sunset. While hunting they are on the move using their senses to detect prey species and may cover ground quickly during their search. If you’re able to see them during daylight hours consider yourself fortunate, then sit back and enjoy the show!
The coyotes in Red Rock State Park are in fact wild animals, please keep your distance during any encounter. You are encouraged to take photos and learn from your interlude with these beautiful wild dogs however, just be careful and try not to disturb nature taking its course.
Bobcats are common in Northern Arizona, especially in rimrock and chaparral areas, and in the outskirts of urban areas where food is readily available. They have distinctive black bars on their forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby (or “bobbed”) tail, from which their name is derived. Its spotted patterning acts as camouflage. The ears are black-tipped and pointed, with short, black tufts. The face appears wide due to ruffs of extended hair beneath the ears. Bobcats are generally seen alone, but groups may consist of mating pairs, siblings, or mothers with kittens. Food may include birds, rodents, and rabbits. The cat has sharp hearing and vision, and a good sense of smell. Bobcats are excellent climbers and swim if it needs to, but normally avoids water. They are most active around sunset and sunrise. Individual bobcats will cover a territory of one to 12 square miles. Bobcats are typically not considered a threat to human safety.
While they are not seen very often, please remember to keep your distance so both you and the bobcat remain safe and happy during an encounter.
Representatives of Arizona’s diverse and varied wildlife species inhabit each and every park throughout the system! Every animal Red Rock State Park is wild and relies on its behavior and camouflage to stay alive. This can make them hard to encounter.