From trophy game mammals to migratory birds, Rock Springs and Green River offer ample opportunity to view more than 800 species of Wyoming wildlife. Visit the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge or explore our wide open spaces such as Little Mountain and Flaming Gorge Country. Here’s everything you need to know to view the wildlife in Sweetwater County.
Wyoming Wildlife Species
Wyoming boasts some 400 species of birds, with nearly 200 hundred of them staying year-round in Wyoming and the other half migrating to and from their wintering grounds. A 1918 federal treaty protects most bird species worldwide, but Wyoming does offer some upland game bird and migratory game bird hunting.
The state has some 50 native fish species and 30 nonnative fish species, including Kokanee salmon, which can be seen during their annual spawning runs. If you visit Green River during late August through November you can witness one of nature’s most-spectacular fish spawning in both the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
Note: It is illegal to fish for or snag spawning kokanee and many sections of the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir are closed to taking kokanee during this time. (Please refer to the current Wyoming Fishing Regulations).
Wyoming has approximately 122 species of mammals, including those classified as big game animals: mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, Shiras moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep (a.k.a. mountain sheep). Wyoming’s trophy game animals include black bear and mountain lion. You can find black bears and mountain lions on Little Mountain south of Rock Springs, but keep your distance!
Amphibians & Reptiles
Wyoming has more than 40 amphibians and reptiles, but only two poisonous snakes—the prairie rattlesnake and the midget-faded rattlesnake.
Sweet Spots to View Wildlife in Sweetwater County
Sweetwater County is home to many species of wildlife. No matter where you are headed in the county, the best time to see wildlife is in the morning, so set your alarm clocks, it will be worth it!
Disclaimer: This is a true “off the grid experience,” and cell service is limited! Make sure you have extra water and food; a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle with thick tires (and a spare tire) to traverse the dirt roads; extra fuel; GPS; and BLM map. Do not attempt to visit the area when conditions are wet. Let someone know where you are headed and when you plan to return.
Little Mountain is located about 50 miles South of Rock Springs, Wyoming. From Rock Springs head West on I-80 and take East Flaming Gorge Road, Exit 99, turn left, and head South on US HWY 191. You can access Little Mountain from multiple locations, but we recommend using the Lower Sage Creek Rd. The first part of the trip down to Little Mountain is on a paved two-lane highway. After you turn off the highway onto Lower Sage Creek Rd. the road is dirt from that point on. For this reason, we recommend traveling to Little Mountain in a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle, with thick-ply tires.
The Greenbelt Pathway is located in the heart of Green River, WY. There are many access points to the 3 ½ mile path. To access the trail by Jaycee Park, from Rock Springs, head west on I-80 and take exit 89 into Green River. Turn right before the traffic light and go over the overpass onto Uinta Drive. Turn left at the second traffic light onto Astle Ave, and the park is located in three blocks ahead on your left. You can park right before the baseball field. This is an easy, flat, paved walking path. Leashed dogs are also allowed. There are also many benches and swings along the pathway to see and enjoy the views.
Expedition Island is the most popular access point to the Greenbelt Pathway. It’s also a great place to see a spectacular natural wildlife cycle that occurs every fall. Every year Kokanee Salmon spawn in the river and are easily seen from Trona Bridge. Male and female kokanee turn bright red and meet to lay their eggs in gravely places called “redds”. Kokanee are land-locked salmon and spawn every 4 years in the river and also in Flaming Gorge. Expedition island also has a walking path around the perimeter of the park, with lots of grass, and a playground. Dogs on leash are also welcome here.
FMC Park is located in Green River, WY and is a local gem, home to many species of wildlife, beautiful scenery, and an easy nature trail. The 637-acre community park also has picnic tables and welcomes on leash dogs. FMC Park is located at 175 Scotts Bottom Rd. To get there from Rock Springs, head west on I-80 and take exit 89 into Green River. Turn right before the stop light and go over the overpass. Turn left at the second traffic light onto Astle Ave and follow the road a mile and take a left onto Scotts Bottom Road.
Wildlife at FMC Park
Mule Deer, Canada Goose, Moose, Beavers, Muskrats, Ducks, Trout, Salmon, Cottontail Rabbits, Songbirds, Owls, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Hawks, Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Garter snakes, Nighthawks, and more!
Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge is a 27,230-acre refuge located Northwest of Green River, WY. The refuge was established in 1965 as a mitigation for the loss of wildlife habitat when the Fontenelle Dam was built and means “River of the Prairie Hen”. In addition to wildlife viewing Seedskadee offers many recreational opportunities such as boating, mountain biking, and hiking. Seedskadee is known for its pristine wetland and riverine habitats and is home to over 250 species of wildlife! To get to Seedskadee, from Green River head West on I-80 and take the LaBarge Exit 83. Turn right onto HWY 372 North and go about 28 miles to the refuge headquarters turnoff on your right. Most of the trip to the refuge is paved, however the roads at the refuge are dirt, but 4-wheel drive is not required. While you are there check out the visitor center! They have incredible displays. (Call ahead for appointment 307-875-2187)
Wildlife at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge
Songbirds, Waterfowl, Eagles, Deer, Antelope, Elk, Moose, River Otters, Trout, Coyotes, Red Fox, Rabbits, Chipmunks, Northern Harriers, Red-Tailed Hawks, Lizards, Bull Snakes, Beavers, Porcupines, and more!
Click here to learn more about Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.
This three-hour, 160-mile loop is full of spectacular views and an abundance of wildlife. You can enter the byway off I-80 either in Rock Springs or Green River, WY. The great thing about this loop is you don’t have to do the full loop; you can drive part of the loop on either side (East or West) and still see a wide variety of wildlife. There are also several pull outs along the drive such as Firehole Canyon where you can get out of the car for a picnic, and view wildlife as well.
Wildlife along the Flaming Gorge – Scenic Byway
Pronghorn Antelope, Mule Deer, Osprey, Golden and Bald Eagles, Sage-Grouse, Red-Tailed Hawks, Cottontail Rabbits, Gulls, Swallows, Common Loon, Sage Sparrows, Songbirds, Mourning Doves, Shorebirds, Fence Lizards, Ducks, Geese, Chukars, Midget-Faded Rattlesnakes, and so much more! There are even Bighorn Sheep on the South side of the loop!
Click here to learn more about the Flaming Gorge – Green River Basin Byway
Sheep Creek Canyon - See the Spawning Kokanee Salmon
Sheep Creek Canyon is about 50 miles south of Green River, WY down HWY 530. This is a great place to go if you are short on time. It’s an easy drive along the highway, and the Kokanee Salmon Interpretive site is just off the side of the road. This site has informational signs throughout the area about the Kokanee Salmon. The best time to go is during the early fall when the Kokanee are spawning and turn bright red! It’s quite the sight to see!
Wildlife to see in Sheep Creek Canyon
The Kokanee Salmon are the big draw to this area. However, on your way down into the canyon keep any eye out for Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Rabbits, a variety of bird species and more!
This new Waterfowl and Wetland Enhancement Project is located on the Utah/Wyoming border where historic Henrys Fork flows into the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It is intended to improve nesting and migration habitat for ducks and other waterfowl. The project includes some 27 acres of ponds, 51 acres of shallow wetlands and 300 more acres of riparian habitat along the Fork only 3 miles from Manila. A short nature trail with interpretive signs helps visitors explore the area.
Take Wyoming Highway 530 south of Green River, WY and travel approximately 43 miles to the Lucerne Valley Marina turnoff. Take your immediate right and park at the top. The trail is steep and rocky for a short distance down to the wetlands. You can walk in the trees and cattails or walk along the fence line. In late summer and fall months the water level is low and you can easily walk out to the Henry’s Fork River outlet as it dumps into Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
Wildlife to see at Henrys Fork Wetlands:
One of the most visible wildlife species the wetlands are the Songbirds-Warblers, Gnatcatchers, Swallows, Sparrows, Robins, and Flycatchers. There are also Woodpeckers, Flickers, Magpies, Ducks, Geese and Wild Turkeys.Mule deer also frequent the ponds, as well as Beaver, Raccoon, Cottontail Rabbits, Red Fox, Coyote, Fence Lizards, and Frogs.
To learn more about Henrys Fork Wetlands Area click here
Three Patches Picnic Day Use Area is a fee-free area located on Aspen Mountain, just South of Rock Springs. This is a great place for people of all ages and abilities to get outside and enjoy nature. Picnic tables and firepits are available for public use, so pack a picnic lunch and take time to really enjoy Three Patches. From Rock Springs, head South on State Highway 430, turn west onto County Road 4-27 and follow for 6.5 miles. Staying left (east) for 5 miles, turn north onto BLM Road 4401 and continue for .75 miles to the picnic area.
Wildlife to See at Three Patches Picnic Day Use Area
Mule Deer and Pronghorn Antelope are permanent residents here, along with Songbirds, Sage-Grouse, Golden Eagles, Chipmunks, Cottontail Rabbits, and Ferruginous Hawks.