SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. — The Rocky Mountain goat loves Utah’s alpine terrain. There are a few places around Utah where they can frequently be spotted during the spring.
Rock Creek (Duchesne County)
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will be hosting a free mountain goat viewing event on Saturday, March 20, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the Upper Stillwater Dam in an area known as Rock Creek, northwest of Mountain Home, Duchesne County. Biologists will be available to answer questions and provide information about mountain goats.
Duchesne County is currently under the moderate COVID-19 transmission level. Participants are asked to maintain 6 feet between household groups and to wear a mask if they are unable to maintain distance. Participants should also register in advance for a time slot to speed up check-in and reduce crowding at the viewing area. You can register for the event and find more information on Eventbrite.
“Participants can usually see 10 to 30 mountain goats and other wildlife from Rock Creek Road, which runs through the canyon where the goats spend their winter months,” DWR Northeastern Region Outreach Manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby said. “The Uinta Mountains are the largest contiguous block of mountain goat habitat in Utah, and mountain goat populations in the Uintas are doing well.”
Mountain goats were reintroduced to the Uinta Mountains in 1987 when DWR biologists released seven animals from Lone Peak. In 1988 and 1989, biologists released another 25 goats from Olympic National Park. Between 1992 and 2000, the herd was supplemented by 57 additional animals from two Utah herds. After the releases, a total of 89 goats had been released at 12 sites on the mountains.
If it appears the weather will be too severe or if COVID-19 restrictions change, the event will be canceled. Call the Vernal DWR office the day before the event to get updates. You can reach the Vernal office at 435-781-9453.
Little Cottonwood Canyon (Salt Lake County)
Because the viewing area in Little Cottonwood Canyon often gets crowded and doesn’t allow for the recommended social distancing, the DWR will not hold a formal viewing event in Little Cottonwood Canyon this year. However, people interested in seeing mountain goats can still go view them on their own. A good place to see them is at 4385 Little Cottonwood Canyon Road (in the north park-and-ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon).
Goat populations in the Box Elder Peak and Lone Peak subunits in the area increased to a total of approximately 300 animals about 10 years ago. They have since declined, dropping to fewer than 50 animals at one point. Due to limited tracking and the difficulty of doing population counts, it is unclear if there was a true decline in population or if the animals simply relocated. But there are roughly 100 animals in the Little Cottonwood Canyon area now. Over the past five years, viewers have seen up to a dozen goats at this location during this time of year.