Summer in Capitol Reef is hot and sometimes stormy, but it's a good season for wildlife viewing. In particular, many species of lizards make their home in the park; you will probably catch a glimpse of one warming itself on a rock. The western whiptail, eastern fence, and side-blotched lizards are the most common; the most attractive is the collared lizard, which is usually turquoise with yellow speckles.
Watch for deer and marmots in Fruita, especially along the path between the visitor center and Fruita Campground. This area is also where you're likely to see chipmunks and white-tail antelope squirrels. Although they're somewhat shy and only emerge from their dens at night, ring-tailed cats (part of the raccoon family) also call the park home, as do bighorn sheep, bobcats, cougar, fox, and coyote.
If you keep your eyes to the sky, you may see a golden eagle, Cooper's hawk, raven, or any of the many other types of birds attracted by the park's variety of habitats. Year-round residents include chukars, common flickers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, horned larks, canyon wrens, rock wrens, American robins, ruby-crowned kinglets, starlings, and American kestrels. In warmer months, you're also likely to see yellow warblers, red-winged blackbirds, western tanagers, northern orioles, violet-green swallows, white-throated swifts, and black-chinned hummingbirds. Bird-watching is particularly good along the Fremont River Trail in the spring and early summer.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.