Rockport State Park Winter Wildllife Viewing
Each year the ice fishing, Yurt camping, and enjoying the wildlife at Rockport State Park is one of our favorite winter outdoor activities. Typically, we would share with you our ice fishing adventure or Yurt camping experience. However, this year we experienced something unusual with the wildlife.
If you have been to Rockport in the winter months, then you have likely seen wildlife, whether on the highway headed towards the lake or driving thru the state park.
In February 2019 we made our yearly ice fishing adventure to Rockport Reservoir. We arrived at the entrance just as the sun was making its debut over the mountain peaks. After paying our entrance fee, and making our way toward the marina, it wasn’t long before we came upon the first herd of 10 or more mule deer crossing in front of us. As we continued down the road, not far from the first sighting were roughly 20 more deer standing by the side of the road. We became enthralled with all of these sightings of deer that were standing, laying, and eating under bushes, trees, and even in the picnic pavilions.
This trip was a little unusual, due to the amazing opportunity to see well over a hundred head of mule deer, several elk, and even large pure white rabbits foraging along the roadside. Although, our goal was a day of ice fishing this became the highlight of the day. We spent some time driving slowly along the state park road, enjoying the abundance of wildlife that were everywhere.
Every time we visit the park in the winter months, we see wildlife, but nothing compared to this year. The several feet of snow in the higher elevations Utah has received this year, maybe the result of this. According to the Rockport State Park website, there are several different species of animals that call Rockport home. These include: mule deer, chipmunks, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, yellowbelly marmots, badgers, raccoons, weasels, fox, Uinta ground squirrels, elk, moose, coyotes, bobcats, and even cougars.
Wildlife Viewing Locations:
As you head to Rockport State park here are a few viewing locations.
Just below the Rockport Dam is a large grassy area that seems to attract the deer in the winter months.
The mountain to the south side of the lake along State RD 32 is a place we’ve always seen deer and occasionally elk, and moose.
Please be aware along the state park road within the park itself the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Take your time and keep an eye out along the sage brush and cedar hillsides. Remember these animals blend in with their surroundings, so they may be hard to spot.
Best time to Visit:
In our opinion, and based on our wildlife encounters over the years at Rockport Reservoir, the best time to see wildlife is in the early morning hours on a weekday. If you visit on a weekend and there is a lot of traffic going up or down the road, this may push the wildlife further back into the trees, which will prevent you from seeing them. The animals will still be there, just not as visible from the road.
Wildlife Viewing Etiquette:
During the winter months, Utah’s wildlife species are very vulnerable to stress, especially in harsh winters like this year 2019. Harassing animals is not only hard on the wildlife, but it is also against the law. Do not chase, stalk or spotlight the wildlife in these wintering areas.
What to Bring:
While visiting Rockport State park in the winter months, please be prepared for winter conditions. Warm clothing, boots, coats, hats and gloves are a must. Don’t forget the camera to capture those photo opportunities of the beautiful wildlife. A telephoto lens is great for those up-close shots, however, for a more serious view of the wildlife a spotting scope may allow you to see more of the hidden animals in the higher elevations.
It is impossible to predict wildlife movements. Although there was an abundance of wildlife on our trip, this doesn’t guarantee you will see them on your visit. This trip was in February 2019 during the middle of the week. Winter is a great time to view wildlife because they are at lower elevations searching for food. As the weather turns warmer, the wildlife will return to the higher elevations leaving less animals to view in and around the Rockport State Park.
We hope you enjoyed this information. For more Utah Outdoor Activities please like us on Facebook. If you have an interest in bringing the outdoors into your home or cabin, take a peak at our new online store. Thank you for visiting Utah Outdoor Activities and for your support!