During my six years of guiding hikes for the resort, I’ve observed and photographed commonly seen animals such as mule deer, javelina, coyote, grey fox, and spotted red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and the occasional bald eagle. But the most persistent questions I get pertaining to wildlife are about creatures who slither or ones that can eat you.
Since many of our guests don’t reside in the West, these concerns usually top the list for hikers unfamiliar with the high desert. Sure, you need to be aware of your surroundings and alert to dangers, but hikers are more likely to stumble into a prickly pear needle than be approached by an animal. Most animals are quite timid and will not attack without provocation.
As far as apex predators, black bear and mountain lions do roam the wilderness areas here. In my many forays off trail in remote areas, I’ve seen tracks of both, but have never come face to face with either. If you spot a bear or cougar, consider yourself incredibly lucky and savor the moment. We had a bear wander into the outskirts of town a few years ago – got a taste for garbage – took 2 or 3 weeks to catch him. The headline in the paper read “Bear Extends Vacation in Sedona”.
When you see how beautiful it is here, you might want to do the same. See you on the trail.