Where To See Bighorn Sheep In North America

Oh, how I do adore the bighorn sheep! Such magnificent creatures, with their strong horns and woolly coats. It’s no secret that the bighorn sheep population was once in decline, but thankfully, many states took action to reintroduce these majestic beasts. And now, they can be found in various areas throughout North America.

You’ll find the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep frolicking in the cooler, mountainous ranges from Southern Canada all the way down to West Texas. Meanwhile, the desert bighorn sheep have a preference for the Southwestern United States’ desert ecosystems, including the Grand Canyon, Mojave Desert, and the Sonoran Desert. Such remarkable creatures, existing and thriving in unique and beautiful environments.

It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in preserving and protecting these beautiful creatures. With continued dedication and conservation efforts, we can ensure that future generations will be able to marvel at the sight of bighorn sheep roaming free in their natural habitats.

What Are Bighorn Sheep?

In the wondrous mountains and grasslands of North America, the majestic bighorn sheep roams free. Known for their impressive horns, which can grow up to a remarkable five feet long, and their unique coats ranging in hues from light brown to dark brown, these creatures are a wonder to behold.

Living in herds, these wild sheep feed on a variety of sustenance including grasses, shrubs, and sedges. As winter approaches, they migrate to lower elevations in search of food. These incredible animals use their curved horns to fight during mating season and protect themselves against predators such as wolves and coyotes. They embody the qualities of strength and resilience, and hold great significance for many people living in these areas.

The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, the largest wild sheep in North America, can weigh over 300 pounds and stand tall at 30–35 inches at the shoulder. Their agility is astounding and they can climb and leap along cliffs or ledges with ease. These magnificent creatures are a testament to the beauty and wonder of the world we live in.

How To Spot Bighorn Sheep

Oh my, have you ever had the pleasure of spotting a majestic bighorn sheep? They can be quite the elusive creatures with their camouflaged color and their affinity for rocky, mountainous terrain. Sometimes, it takes a keen eye and a bit of patience to catch a glimpse of these beauties. But once you do, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

In the winter months, the bighorns tend to stick to south-facing slopes during the day, making them easier to locate. And while they may not be as active during midday, they’re known to come out early in the morning and late in the afternoon. So, if you want to increase your chances of spotting a bighorn, those are the best times to keep your eyes peeled. With their impressive size and striking horns, it’s no wonder people love to seek out these creatures in their natural habitat. Just remember to be respectful and keep a safe distance, as we must always prioritize the well-being of these magnificent animals.


In 1939, the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was established with a noble purpose – to protect the magnificent desert bighorn sheep of Arizona. These majestic creatures call the Sonoran desert in the Yuma region their home, and there are estimated to be 428 of them in the area. Their rugged abode lies primarily in the Castle Dome and Kofa Mountains of Northern Yuma, where the hills are steep and challenging.

The Big Horn Mountains Wilderness boasts 9 miles of mountain range, and it is home to many desert bighorn sheep. In the Havasu Wilderness, which stretches for 30 miles along the Colorado River, a bighorn herd can be found among the mountains, along with other animals. The Pusch Ridge Wilderness saw a reintroduction of desert bighorn sheep in 2016, and the population has now reached a sustainable level, with lamb survival rates reported as good.

The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for these precious animals, and it serves as a reminder of our responsibility to protect and preserve the natural world. Let us continue to celebrate the beauty and wonder of these magnificent creatures, and let us always strive to ensure that future generations can enjoy them just as we have.


Bighorn sheep can be spotted throughout the southwestern United States, from central Washington down to the blue mountains near Joesph Creek. In the Selkirk’s, Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, and Hall Mountain, these majestic creatures roam free.

Sadly, the peninsular bighorn sheep are classified as endangered and can only be found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains. Low-elevation bighorn sheep, they typically dwell between 400 and 4,000 feet. It’s said that around 1,000 of these remarkable creatures can be found in their natural habitat in the mountain ranges.

You may also get a glimpse of the desert bighorn sheep in Death Canyon. The freshwater spring in Titus Canyon is the perfect spot to catch them quenching their thirst. Joshua Tree National Park is home to three separate herds of bighorn sheep – one of 100 in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, another of 120 in the Eagle Mountains, and the smallest pack of approximately 30 in the Wonderland of Rocks.

These magnificent creatures are an integral part of our natural world and a joy to behold.


In the vast open land of Canada’s Rockies, you’ll find the mighty bighorn sheep, proudly straddling the boundary of Alberta and British Columbia. With a population of roughly 14,000 in Canada, these majestic creatures make up approximately 15% of North America’s total bighorn sheep population. Alberta is home to a staggering 11,000 of them, while only about 3,000 reside in British Columbia. Spotting them in their natural habitat is a treat that must not be missed.

In Colorado, the bighorn sheep population stands at around 7,000. The Rocky Mountain National Park plays host to these magnificent creatures, and the best place to catch a glimpse is along the Big Thompson Canyon, just west of Loveland. But if you seek more of an adventure, travel to Rustic, 42 miles northwest of Fort Collins, and head west to the Big Bend Campground, where around 100 bighorn sheep reside. In the Arkansas River, near dawn or dusk, these creatures come out to play near the water. Browns Canyon National Monument is also an excellent choice, where sightings of bighorn sheep and their young are common during the summer months.

Indeed, the bighorn sheep have made their mark across North America, an impressive creature that demands respect and awe. With their population in Canada and Colorado, anyone can see them in their natural habitat, and experiencing their majestic beauty is a must.


The desert bighorn sheep, Nevada’s beloved state animal, roam freely throughout the state with a healthy population of around 8,500. But that’s not all – Nevada also boasts two other subspecies, the California bighorn, and Rocky Mountain bighorn, bringing the total estimated population to a staggering 10,700. These majestic creatures can be found in the southern, central, and western parts of the state, and have even been spotted as far north as Interstate 80.

For those seeking an up-close encounter with these magnificent animals, there are a variety of locations throughout Nevada where they can be observed. The mountains surrounding Las Vegas offer an excellent opportunity for spotting the bighorn sheep, while the cliffs around Red Rock Canyon’s Willow Springs picnic area are a favorite spot for many nature enthusiasts. Likewise, in Hemenway Park in Boulder City, visitors can catch a glimpse of the bighorn sheep grazing along the cliffs near Highway 93 near Hoover Dam.

Truly, there is nothing quite like witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. With their distinct curved horns and agile movements, the desert bighorn sheep have become an iconic symbol of Nevada’s stunning wilderness. So, next time you’re exploring the great outdoors of Nevada, keep your eyes peeled and your camera at the ready – you never know when you might catch a glimpse of these incredible animals.

New Mexico

In the rolling hills and high peaks of New Mexico, the majestic bighorn sheep have been making a comeback. Once hunted to near extinction, these magnificent creatures have been reintroduced successfully to the state’s mountains and wilderness areas.

With 15 herds now roaming free, their numbers growing year on year, the bighorns have become a symbol of hope for conservationists and animal lovers alike. From the rugged Sierra Diablo Mountains to the towering peaks of the Wheeler Wilderness, these extraordinary creatures have found a home in the heart of the Southwest.

It’s a testament to the dedication and hard work of wildlife biologists and local communities that these herds are thriving once again. With each new release and successful translocation, the bighorns are reclaiming their rightful place in the natural world. And as they roam across the rugged landscapes of Texas and New Mexico, they remind us that we too can be stewards of the earth, protecting and preserving the creatures that call it home.


Once scarce among Utah’s rugged terrain, the bighorn sheep have made a remarkable comeback. With approximately 3,600 of these majestic creatures roaming the state, 2,800 of them are desert bighorn nestled in the Southeast and 800 are Rocky Mountain bighorn stationed in the North. Additionally, the California bighorn, a separate population of Rocky Mountain sheep, can be found on Antelope Island.

One of the most rewarding ways to see desert bighorn sheep is by hiking the Canyon Overlook trail in Zion National Park. Of course, their presence hasn’t always been guaranteed in the area. These sheep were reintroduced to the region and faced significant challenges before their population numbers began to increase. Today, there are so many bighorn sheep in Zion National Park that officials worry about potential disease transmission between them and domestic sheep livestock.

As nature lovers, it’s heartening to see these iconic creatures thrive in the wild after years of struggle. Yet, we must continue to take precautions to maintain their health and longevity. Hiking the Canyon Overlook trail offers an incredible opportunity to witness their beauty firsthand, but let’s remember to respect their habitat and take measures to ensure their continued success.