Birding in Southwest Utah

You already know how beautiful our region is. Birds can't get enough of it either. With such a range of habitats and elevations Southwest Utah hosts countless birds each year, whether they are en route to a wintering ground, or nesting in your own backyard. If you're looking for ways to explore Utah's incredible natural spaces, just follow the birds!
Explore our favorite places and resources below.


Tonaquint Nature Center

Tonaquint Nature Center is an island of riparian habitat and parkland adjacent to the Santa Clara River.  Tonaquint park has a biking/walking trail, and smaller trails that wander past a pond and through cottonwood/willow habitat.  A variety of waterfowl, egrets and herons visit the pond regularly, and other species such as crissal thrashers and Abert's towhees can be found here.

To Visit:
Tonaquint Park is located at 1851 South Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah.  To visit the nature center enter the park and continue along the main drive until you reach the end parking lot.  From here continue past the tennis courts along the bike path until you see the nature center entrance on the right.  For more information click here.

photo by Diane Hoy

photo by Diane Hoy

Zion National Park

Zion National Park can be a great place to look for birds year round.  The riparian habitat and cliffs attract species such as dippers, peregrine falcons, as well as warblers, sparrows and woodpeckers.  In recent years California Condors have become regular visitors, and a few pairs have attempted to nest in the park.  If you leave the canyon and travel to the upper mesa areas, you enter pinyon/juniper and ponderosa pine habitat and can find even more species not usually seen at lower elevations in the park.

To Visit:
Take SR-9 through LaVerkin to Springdale to reach the South Entrance.
Entrance Fees Apply.
For more information click here.


Lytle Ranch

Lytle Ranch is a reserve located 36 miles southwest of St. George.  At this point the Great Basin, Colorodo Plateau and Mojave desert biological regions overlap, providing a unique mix of bird species for the state.

To Visit:
Lytle Ranch Preserve is managed by Brigham Young University.  Day visitors must check in with the full-time manager who is usually available to orient visitors to the site.  For more information click here.

Confluence Park

Confluence Park

Confluence park is a large natural area where two small streams enter the Virgin River.  The park has several trails that pass through fields and riparian areas, and a wide variety of species can be found here year round.

To Visit:
There are several trailheads to hike into the park.  Take SR-9 through LaVerkin to 900 N and enter the Riverwoods subdivision.  Continue on 900 N until the road exits the subdivision and becomes a dirt road.  An undeveloped campground will be to the left.  Continue by foot at the gate access, following LaVerkin Creek through cottonwoods and fields until it reaches the confluence of the Virgin River.  
Another popular trailhead is located at a pullout just North of the SR-9 bridge between Hurricane and LaVerkin.    Follow the trail down the cliff into the gorge where it follows the Virgin River and joins the trail accessed from 900 N.  For more information click here.


Grafton/Smithsonian Butte

Grafton is a ghost town located near Zion National Park.  Along with historic structures, the area is a good place to bird, especially in the morning areas.  A mix of fields, orchards, and natural riparian areas attract species such as Lewis' Woodpeckers, quail, turkey, and the occasional vermillion flycatcher in the winter.

To Visit:
Take SR-9 to Rockville, and turn south on Bridge lane.  Follow this road until it becomes a dirt road heading west, continue until you pass a pullout for a cemetery and reach a parking area near some restored buildings.  For more information click here.

Grandpa's Pond (Kevin Wheeler)

Grandpa's Pond

 Grandpa's Pond is an urban fishery near Quail Lake Reservoir, which attracts a variety of waterfowl.   The adjacent park and riparian area along the Virgin River are great places to look for warbler and sparrow species.

To Visit:
Grandpa's Pond is located at 350 North 3700 West, Hurricane.  For more information click here.