What to See: Plants
On the plateau, nearly a dozen native bunch grasses and dozens of wildflower species can be seen. Early in the season, balsamroot, camas and lupine put on a spectacular display. Later, goldenrod, gentian, yampah and other species continue to provide color and food for pollinating insects. The preserve is also home to the threatened Spalding's catchfly, and native grassland communities include Idaho fescue, junegrass and bluebunch wheatgrass.
Devil’s Gulch contains excellent examples of rare and threatened riparian plants. Prominent species include cottonwood, aspen, water birch, black hawthorne, Wood’s rose, serviceberry and Douglas’ spirea.
What to See: Animals
Large mammals thriving here include Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, black bear and cougar. Colonies of Belding ground squirrels provide food for raptors, coyote and badger.
More than 250 bird species are also known to frequent the preserve—with more than 100 observed nesting—such as mountain bluebirds, grasshopper sparrows and red-eyed vireo. Swainson's hawks, goshawks, mountain quail, ruffed grouse, yellow-breasted chats, lazuli buntings and canyon wrens also live here, and golden eagles and ferruginous hawks sometimes nest in the vicinity of Downey Lake.
The best time to visit for wildflower displays is May and June, but be on the lookout for western rattlesnakes. Download a trail map.
Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:
- Stay on the trail. Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.
- No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.
- No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.
- No hunting, camping or campfires.
- For groups of 10 or more, please contact us before visiting a preserve (a volunteer naturalist guide may be available).
- Please bring a bag and carry out any trash you find.
- Report to us any problems you observe (e.g., camping, plant removal, hunting, off-road vehicle damage, etc).
- Be mindful of ownership boundaries and do not trespass on private lands neighboring the preserve.