Mountain Lions in Zion Canyon

Zion National Park gets almost three million visitors annually -- most in Zion Canyon -- and mountain lions stay far away from such crowds.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
zion-park-mtnlion

The elusive mountain lion is rarely seen by wildlife biologists, much less tourists, but remains a presence in the slickrock canyon country and forested areas of southern Utah. Mountain lions prey on mule deer and smaller animals, but have been known to tackle elk as well.

Zion National Park gets almost three million visitors annually -- most in Zion Canyon -- and mountain lions stay far away from such crowds. That's why you see lots of deer in Zion Canyon -- they don't have a predator who can thin their ranks.

Something else that you won't see in Zion Canyon are young cottonwood trees or saplings -- deer have been eating cottonwood seedlings and saplings since mountain lions made themselves scare in the 1940s.

Yet hikers who venture into the nearby and rarely visited North Creek area will see a full range of cottonwood recruitment, from seedlings to saplings to young trees and on to towering ancients. North Creek has fewer deer than Zion Canyon, but that's because North Creek still has mountain lions.

According to research cited by Park Science, "The abundance of hydrophytic plants and wildflowers along streams was greater in the North Creek area than in the canyon, and there were more species and a greater abundance of lizards and butterflies. In Zion Canyon, where stream-bank erosion was 2.5 times more common than in North Creek, stream beds were wider and shallower."

Researchers William J. Ripple and Robert L. Beschta of Oregon State University conducted the research.

Related

zion-park-frog

Amphibians in Zion National Park

Frogs, toads and even a salamander are to be found in Zion National Park, thanks to the Virgin River, streams in slot canyons and even monsoon rains.

The Virgin River canyon called The Narrows in Zion National Park

Some Canyoneering Favorites in Zion National Park

Try the sport that includes hiking and technical rock climbing inside Zion National Park including the Narrows, the Subway, and North Creek.

zion-park-canyoneering

Timeline of Flash Flood Tragedy in Zion's Keyhole Canyon

Sept 14, 2015 southwest Utah received heavy rain. Zion National Park had flash floods including in a small canyon called Keyhole Canyon where seven died.

The Subway slot canyon in Zion National Park

The Subway Slot Canyon in Zion National Park

The Zion Subway is one of the most popular slot canyon and canyoneering routes in Zion National Park.

zion-park-canyoneering

Zion, the Birthplace of Canyoneering

Zion and the nearby area offer a wealth of climbing opportunities, both guided and unguided. The Narrows may be the birthplace of canyoneering.

zion-park-canyons

Canyons of Zion National Park

The high cliffs of Zion were formed about four million years ago through a process where layers of rock were broken, pushed up and on their side

zion-park-mtnlion

Wild Cats in Utah, but Elusive

Utah has three species of native cats, the mountain lion, or cougar; the lynx; and the bobcat, a cousin to the lynx.

Zion-Park-Horse-Riding

Horseback Riding Red Canyon & Beyond

There are many excellent trail riding adventures within the national parks, national forest and other public lands throughout the region.

zion-park-fox

Fox Rare in Zion

Visitors keep eye's wide to catch a glimpse of the rare gray fox found in Zion's woodlands and shrubs.