See mountain goats in the wild this summer at DWR event
Beaver — If you have ever wanted to see mountain goats in the wild, a great viewing opportunity will take place in beautiful southern Utah in August.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be hosting a free mountain goat viewing event on Saturday, Aug. 7 from 7:30 a.m. to noon near the Big John Flat area of the Tushar Mountains in Beaver County. In addition to seeing mountain goats, biologists will be available to answer questions and provide information about these unique animals.
Spotting scopes with phone adapters will be set up, along with a viewing screen to provide a closer view of the goats. However, participants should bring their own binoculars if they have them. Attendees should also come prepared with warm clothing and water because the area is quite remote and services are not available.
"Participants can usually see anywhere from five to 50 mountain goats — as well as other wildlife — from Big John Flat Road, which runs through the heart of where the goats spend their summer months," DWR Southern Region Outreach Manager Phil Tuttle said. "The Tushar Mountains provide some of the most breathtaking views in mountain goat habitat in Utah. Mountain goat populations on the rugged Tushars are doing well."
This event will allow you to explore the 11,500-foot, alpine-tundra ecosystem where the goats live. Found only above the timberline, it's an ecosystem seldom seen in southern Utah. Other unique animals can also be found in this high-elevation terrain, including yellow-bellied marmots and pika.
Mountain goats were reintroduced to the Tushar Mountains in 1967 when DWR biologists relocated six animals from Olympic National Park in Washington. The Tushar Mountains herd of mountain goats has thrived and has provided a source population for additional mountain goat transplants across Utah. As a result of various transplants, there are now an estimated 2,000 mountain goats throughout Utah.
Although mountain goats are often visible from the road, a hike is sometimes required to actually see the mountain goats in person. While the event is free, participants should register for a time slot in advance to speed up the check-in and to reduce crowding at the viewing area. You can register for the event and find more information on Eventbrite.
In case of severe weather conditions, the event will be canceled. Call the DWR Cedar City Office the day before the event to receive updates. You can reach the office at 435-865-6100.
Directions to the event
Those interested in following the biologists to the viewing site should meet at the Cardwell Convenience Store at 215 N. Main St. in Beaver at 7:30 a.m. sharp. Driving conditions can vary significantly depending on weather conditions. A four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle is recommended, but not always required to reach the viewing area.
To reach the viewing site on your own:
- Starting in Beaver, drive east on 200 North (Hwy 153) for approximately 16 miles. Turn slightly left onto Big John Flat Road. Remain on this road until the summit of the Tushar Mountains (approximately 8 miles).