One of the most common questions we get at Desert is how to see the bighorn sheep. Unfortunately, they can be a bit elusive. Here are some tips to help improve your chance of spotting one.
Depending on the year, there are 800-1000 desert bighorn sheep on the refuge, all of which blend in extremely well with their surroundings. To spot bighorn, use your binoculars or spotting scope early to mid-morning with the sun behind you. Concentrate on looking for light colored parts of their body, such as the rump patch, that will stand out against the rocky slopes they call home.
Bighorn tend to remain in small, widely dispersed groups during most of the year. During the fall, winter, and spring they tend to be more widely scattered and found at somewhat lower elevations. During the summer, look for sheep close to the springs or catchments they frequent. Regardless of the time of the year, you may have to search and observe these areas many hours before spotting any bighorn.
Below are some suggested locations on the refuge for bighorn spotting.
Off of Alamo Road:
- Joe May Road, located approximately 3 miles (5 km) from Corn Creek.
- The Black Hills area (fall, winter, and spring) and the Cow Camp Spring area (summer), approximately 12 miles (19 km) from Corn Creek.
- On the east Desert Mountain Range, north of Dead Horse Road, approximately 25 miles (40 km) from Corn Creek.
Off Mormon Well Road:
- Peek-a-Boo Canyon, approximately 17 miles (27 km) from Corn Creek.
- Quail Springs guzzler (summer), on Gass Peak Road, approximately 14.5 miles (23 km) from Corn Creek.
Other places to view desert bighorn sheep:
- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: The Point of Rocks Trail (1/2 mile loop) has a lookout where bighorn sheep are occasionally seen during the late summer and early fall.
- Valley of Fire State Park: bighorn sheep can be found throughout the park; ask at the Visitor Center (open daily 9am to 4:30pm) for more information.
- Hemenway Park in Boulder City, NV: bighorn sheep water and graze at the park throughout the day, but especially in the morning.
Please respect the desert bighorn and any other wildlife while observing – remember, this is their home. Help us protect them and their habitat.