Top Places To Birdwatch in Wyoming – Free & Paid Birding Destinations

January 22, 2022 // 23 minute read

Birding Locations » US » Birding In Wyoming

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One of the most exciting things about the state of Wyoming Is Its Size. It’s actually one of the 10 largest states in the United States of America, yet the population is one of the lowest in the nation. 

Combine these two situations together and you have one of the most ideal situations available for birding. You have very few people getting in your way and lots of wide-open spaces for birds to enjoy without having too many people clogging up the trails or boardwalks in wildlife preserves and refuges.

Want to know another great thing about the Cowboy State? It has some of the most iconic national parks in existence. Have you ever heard of Yellowstone National Park? Of course, you have! It’s one of many wonderful national parks that provide lots of hiking opportunities and nesting places for birds, which makes it a birding hot spot to say the least.

Since water becomes scarce in the High Plains, you’ll also find plenty of lakes and wetlands that attract waterfowl in the area. Fontenelle Reservoir is one such place.

Today, I’d like to tell you about the best free and paid bird watching destinations that can be found in the Equity State better known as the state of Wyoming. I’m also going to fill you in on a few of my favorite bird watching clubs and chapters of the National Audubon Society. If you’d like to take your bird watching activities to the next level, you’ll seriously consider joining one of these popular groups.

To learn about all of my favorite free and paid bird watching destinations in Wyoming, please continue reading. While you’re at it, if you’re thinking about taking a birdwatching trip in some of the surrounding states, check out my pages about Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho to discover more about these popular destinations.

Bird Watching Destinations in Wyoming: Free Destinations

You may not realize this, but the Equity State has some of the best free bird watching destinations throughout the country. Think about spending the weekend hiking along the trails of your favorite free birding hotspot. Remember to invite your family and friends along for the ride and make it a habit to visit the ones closest to home on the weekend so you can enjoy birdwatching and spending time with those closest to you without paying a small fortune for the privilege.

The free bird watching hotspots that I’m about to share with you are great because they are made up of a number of different types of habitats. This creates diversity and it means you’re going to see many different types of birds along your travels. This state is home to migrant songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and other types of wildlife. It’s one of the greatest places for wildlife watching in all of North America.

In most cases, I’ll do my best to share free destinations with you. Occasionally, some of these free hotspots will charge for parking. Or they may even charge a very minuscule entrance fee that will only cost a couple of bucks per person.

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge – No Entrance Fee

This free birding location is found in the southwestern Wyoming and it’s actually in the northwest 40 miles away from Rock Springs. There’s so much for birders to see and do in this location and there is even a wide array of birds in the High Plains grasslands.

Even better, they have a visitor center and headquarters if you need to stop in and ask for advice. There is an auto tour route and many hiking trails for birdwatchers to enjoy, use, and make the most of as they enhance their overall birding experience.

Location:

37 Miles North on Highway 327
Green River, WY 82935

Phone: 307-875-2287
GPS: 41.8385° N, 109.8357° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge opens up each day at half an hour before the sunrise. It also closes each day at half hour before the sun sets. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 4 PM and it closes on weekends and federal holidays.

  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Greater Sage-Grouse
  • Canada Goose
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Yellow-Headed Blackbird
  • American White Pelican
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Golden Eagle
  • Marsh Wren

Hiking Trails:

Fortunately for those who enjoy hiking while birdwatching, you’re definitely in for a treat because there are a number of excellent walking trails to enjoy in this national wildlife refuge. In fact, there are 6 trails in total, but the information is a little bit sketchy regarding distance and estimated time that it would take to travel upon each trail. I’ll do my best and share what information I have, but I’ll put forth the effort to share detailed descriptions.

The names of these hiking trails and other pertinent information that I could dig up include:

  • California Trail – based on what I discovered, the trail itself is gentle, so it isn’t going to be the most difficult terrain. But it’s also a historical trail that hasn’t been maintained in a while, so you may come across grown and foliage, natural vegetation, and other unwanted obstacles that may or may not get in your way. The special feature of this trail is that you can trace the steps of pioneers through natural vegetation.
  • Flicker Trail – this is also considered a gentle trail, which is great because it isn’t going to be too difficult to travel upon it. It’s actually an administrative road, so it isn’t a dirt path and there aren’t going to be lots of obstacles in your way because they do a good job of maintaining it. The total trail is 1.1 miles long, which the average person should have no trouble completing in 30 minutes.
  • Lombard Ferry Trail – this trail is also considered gentle and it’s made of asphalt, so you’ll have no trouble following the path for starters, and it will be easy to maintain a walking pace because there aren’t unnecessary obstacles in vegetation in your way. If you’ve never spent time in nature before, following this path in the beginning is probably a good idea because it helps the newbie get started without diving in head first. Plus, it’s a short trail because the total length is 0.15 miles, which will only take a couple of minutes to walk across.
  • Mormon Pioneer Trail – the only things that I really know about this trail is that it hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years and the pioneers walked across this landscape. The trail is also gentle and it isn’t well maintained, so keep that in mind. This trail actually follows the route that Brigham Young used to lead the Mormons to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847.
  • Oregon Trail – this is another gentle trail that hasn’t been well maintained. It’s a historical trail with natural vegetation and the landscape has basically remained the same for 100 years or longer. This is the trail that first traders used as the pathway to the Pacific. Missionaries and gold seekers also used the Oregon Trail.
  • Pony Express Trail – obviously the Pony Express used to use this trail during their missions from Missouri to California while delivering the mail. The trail is gentle but it also happens to not be well-maintained. It’s going to have natural vegetation and the path hasn’t changed a great deal in over 100 years, just like many of the other trails mentioned today.

Keyhole State Park – Free Admission, Paid Parking

This state park is made up of 14,700 acres of reservoir land that you can find in the northeastern section of Wyoming. It’s also one of the biggest and best and most popular destinations for birding all throughout the state of Wyoming. Audubon Rockies has a banding station here during the summer working as part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity in Survivorship program that is known as MAPS.

The land is made up of a combination of wood lands, grasslands, and the large reservoir. This creates a situation where visitors get to see a major diversity of birds. Some areas are even filled with wading birds and shorebirds. Visit with family and friends the next time you’re in the area.

Location:

22 Marina Rd.
Moorcroft, WY 82721

Phone: 307-756-3596
GPS: 44.3609° N, 104.7653° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is up and running all year-round and it’s actually open 24 hours a day. Office hours are from Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3:30 PM. Feel free to call them if you have any further questions.

  • Common Loon
  • Bald Eagle
  • Brewer’s Sparrow
  • American Avocet
  • Wild Turkey
  • Black-Billed Magpie
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Western Wood-Pewee
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • American White Pelican
  • Western Grebe

Parking Fees:

  • Vehicle Parking Fee – $7 per day
  • Historic Site Parking – $4 per day
  • Annual Vehicle Permit – $48 per year

Hiking Trails:

As much as I’d love to tell you about the tons and tons of hiking trails in the area, this isn’t actually the case because I’ve only found one trail that I can share with you. It’s an easy trail and it’s simple to navigate and it’s somewhat long but not brutally so.

The name of this hiking trail and other important details include:

  • Keyhole Dam Trail – First off, I would like to mention that this is an easy trail to travel upon and it’s even easier to navigate because the path is clear, it’s well-maintained and it takes you right next to the water so you’ll never really lose your way. The total length of the trail is 2.1 miles, which is a bit on the longer side for some newbie hikers. But in truth, it shouldn’t take too long because the average person walking at a normal pace can complete this trail in about an hour.

Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park – Free Admission, Paid Parking

You’ll find this state park located to the east of Casper. It’s made up of 362 acres of land on the North Platte River and it was developed specifically as a wildlife area for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts like you and me to experience and appreciate. There are wetlands, planes, cottonwoods, ponds, and much more. This park is considered an important bird area by the National Audubon Society.

Location:

8700 E. US Highway 20-26
Evansville, WY 82636

Phone: 307-577-5150
GPS: 42.8510° N, 106.1813° W

Hours Of Operation:

This park opens up each day at 7 AM and closes every day at 10 PM. The park likely closes on federal holidays as well, so please call them if you intend to visit on a typical federal holiday to find out if they are opened or closed. 

  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Blue-Winged Teal
  • Wood Duck
  • Common Merganser
  • Long-Eared Owl
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Wood Thrush
  • American White Pelican
  • Bald Eagle

Parking Fees:

  • Vehicle Parking Fee – $7 per day
  • Historic Site Parking – $4 per day
  • Annual Vehicle Permit – $48 per year

Hiking Trails:

Even though there is plenty of walking involved whenever you visit Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park, there’s only one hiking trail that I have the privilege of telling you about today. But it’s a paved trail and it’s well-maintained and it takes you all throughout the park, so it’s definitely a good trail to know about.

The name of this trail another very important information includes:

  • Edness Kimball Wilkins Loop – as I already mentioned, this is an easy trail because the path is paved in many places and the trail is easy to navigate. You’ll have no trouble figuring out where you have to go next and there aren’t lots of rocks and debris in your way, because the trail itself is very well maintained and kept in excellent condition. The total length of the trail is 3.4 miles, which can be very challenging to many people. But if you’re up for the task and you’re willing to take a chance at walking the entirety of this trail, please remember that you’re going to invest about an hour and 45 minutes to finish the entire thing from beginning to end.

Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge – No Entrance Fee

Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a vast region of arid lands and wetlands. It also has lakes and an oasis that makes it a great place for waterbirds to live and rest. It’s also to the southwest of Laramie, which is about 12 miles away from the location. During the fall and spring, there is a plentiful supply of shorebirds in the area because they like to migrate to the shallow wetlands and mud flats in the region.

Location:

Albany County
Laramie, WY 82070

Phone: 970-723-8202
GPS: 41.1776° N, 105.7158° W

Hours Of Operation:

The refuge is open every day of the week, although access and viewing opportunities are limited from November-February because of the cold and snowy weather in the frozen ponds. Visitors can enter the refuge each day at half an hour before sunrise and they must exit the refuge each day at half an hour after sunset. Overnight parking and camping aren’t permitted here.

  • Sandhill Crane
  • Northern Shoveler
  • California Gull
  • Western Grebe
  • McCown’s Longspur
  • Horned Lark
  • Golden Eagle
  • Wilson’s Phalarope
  • Virginia Rail
  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Forster’s Tern

Hiking Trails:

Although the website doesn’t give a specific name, there is one main hiking trail going through Hutton Lake national wildlife refuge that the public has access to. This trail is 2.6 miles long, and if you remain on the trail you’ll see gentle terrain and many different birds and animals in this protected habitat. The trail loops around Creighton Lake and heads directly toward Lake George. There is a photography blind that was built in 2013 by an Eagle Scout candidate. If someone were to attempt to walk the entirety of the trail, it would likely take this individual one hour and 15 minutes to complete the full trail if they walk at a moderate pace.

Bird Watching Destinations in Wyoming: Paid Destinations

Yellowstone National Park – Paid Admission

This amazing park is legendary and it’s the home to some of the best birding hotspots in the entire United States of America. The scenery is gorgeous, it has geysers and hot springs, and the area is teeming with wildlife. There are different habitats located throughout Yellowstone National Park, so if you plan to visit for birdwatching purposes in the near future, we recommend stopping by one habitat per visit. The habitats include riparian Woodland, Rocky Rivers, open valleys, and coniferous forests.

Location:

Physical Address
2 Officers Row

Yellowstone National Park Headquarters
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Mailing Address
Yellowstone National Park
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone: 307-344-2263

Hours Of Operation:

Yellowstone National Park is open 365 days a year and it’s open 24 hours a day. Obviously, for wildlife viewing and birdwatching purposes, it’s best to enter the park during daylight hours. Otherwise you may have a difficult time viewing your favorite birds and other types of wildlife.

  • Clark’s Nutcracker
  • Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • American Dipper
  • Common Raven
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Townsend’s Solitaire
  • Northern Flicker
  • Yellow-Rumped Warbler
  • Common Redpoll
  • Ring-Necked Duck

Entrance Fees:

  • Individual Entrance Fee (On Foot, Bicycle, Etc.) – $20
  • Noncommercial Vehicle Entrance Fee – $35
  • Motorcycle or Snowmobile Entrance Fee – $30
  • Yellowstone National Park Annual Pass – $70 per year

Hiking Trails:

There are more than 250 different hiking trails scattered throughout Yellowstone National Park. Obviously, this park is humongous and it could take years to hike each and every one of these trails if you have the time and inclination to do so. Instead of telling you about each one of these trails, I will briefly share information about my favorite trails in Wyoming along with their length and average time it takes to complete the trail while walking.

  • Yellowstone Falls, Crystal Falls and Inspiration Point via North Run Trail – moderate difficulty, 6.4 miles, three hours and 15 minutes to complete
  • Avalanche Peak Trail – hard difficulty, 4.5 miles, three hours and 15 minutes to complete
  • Old Faithful Geyser Loop Trail – easy difficulty, 0.7 miles, 20 minutes to complete
  • Upper Falls, Lower Falls and Crystal Falls Trail – moderate difficulty, 3.8 miles, one hour and 55 minutes to complete
  • Seven Mile Hole Trail – hard difficulty, 9.7 miles, five hours and 20 minutes to complete
  • Geyser Hill Loop Trail and Observation Point – easy difficulty, 2.5 miles, one hour and 15 minutes to complete
  • Mystic Falls and Geyser Basin Loop – moderate difficulty, 8.9 miles, four hours and 15 minutes to complete
  • Petrified Forest Trail – hard difficulty, 3.6 miles, two hours and 40 minutes to complete
  • North Rim Trail, Red Rock Point, Lookout Point, and Grand View – easy difficulty, 2.1 miles, one hour and 10 minutes to complete
  • Dunanda Falls and Silver Scarf Falls Trail – moderate difficulty, 17 Miles, seven hours and 25 minutes to complete

Grand Teton National Park – Paid Admission

First off, Grand Teton National Park is truly spectacular and it’s well known because of its rugged mountains, which makes it a great place and home for upper elevation birds. But there are many other habitats including riparian woods, wetlands, and sagebrush to visit as well, so birders will definitely have an opportunity to view a wide array of birds in this stunning national park. Hiking along the upper and middle slopes is always a fun time and it’s a great way to see a wide variety of warblers and other birds. Visit at any time and enjoy more than 110 different hiking trails in this region.

Location:

103 headquarters Loop
Moose, WY 83012

Phone: 307-739-3300
GPS: 43.7904° N, 110.6818° W

Hours Of Operation:

The great thing about Grand Teton National Park is that it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and seven days a week. Feel free to visit at any time that personally suits you, but remember if you’re here for wildlife viewing you should certainly stick to the daylight hours because you’ll clearly see many more birds and other animals in the wild during the day.

  • Cassin’s Finch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Black-billed magpie
  • Northern Harrier
  • Brewer’s sparrow
  • green-tailed Towhee
  • Black Rosy-Finch
  • Western Tanager
  • red crossbill
  • American three-toed woodpecker
  • Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Entrance Fees:

  • Individual Entrance Fee (Hiker, Bicycle, Etc.) – $20
  • Noncommercial Vehicle Entrance Fee – $35
  • Motorcycle Entrance Fee – $30
  • Yellowstone National Park Annual Pass – $70 per year

Hiking Trails:

Grand Teton National Park is similar to Yellowstone National Park regarding their hiking trails. They both have a plethora of hiking trails for visitors to enjoy, experience, and appreciate. In fact, there are currently 110 amazing hiking trails, running trails, and biking trails for visitors to use in this wonderful outdoor setting. And you’ll definitely have the opportunity to see many different bird species and other types of wildlife as well.

My top 10 favorite hiking trails and Grand Teton National Park include:

  • Cascade Canyon Trail – moderate difficulty, 9.1 miles, four hours and 25 minutes to complete
  • Delta Lake via Lupine Meadows Access – hard difficulty, 7.2 miles, four hours and 30 minutes to complete
  • Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail – easy difficulty, 2.5 miles, one hour and five minutes to complete
  • Death Canyon and Phelps Lake Loop – moderate difficulty, 7.6 miles, three hours and 55 minutes to complete
  • Paintbrush Canyon & String Lake Loop Trail to Lake Solitude – hard difficulty, 20.6 miles, multi-day hiking trip
  • Colter Bay Hermitage Point Trail – easy difficulty, 9.6 miles, four hours and 20 minutes to complete
  • Bradley and Taggart Lakes via Valley Trail and Lupine Meadows – moderate difficulty, 10.3 miles, five hours and 15 minutes to complete
  • Teton Village Wildfire Trail to Gondola Summit – hard difficulty, 8 miles, five hours and five minutes to complete
  • Inspiration Point to Canyon Loop Trail – easy difficulty, 2.5 miles, one hour and 25 minutes to complete
  • Black Tail Butte Peak Trail – moderate difficulty, 6.5 miles, three hours and 35 minutes to complete

Wyoming Birdwatching Clubs

Becoming a member of a Wyoming birdwatching club will definitely enhance your overall birding experience. It will help you become more involved with the community and you’ll have an opportunity to meet other people like you who enjoy birdwatching, habitat protection, wildlife viewing, education, and more.

Joining these groups will lead to spending time outdoors in nature with other like-minded people. You’ll have the opportunity to go on hikes, birdwatching field trips, attend monthly meetings, and more. And membership to these clubs means joining a family of sorts as you regularly get together with other people who enjoy birds just as much as you.

To learn about the best bird watching clubs in the Cowboy State, please continue reading below for more information.

Murie Audubon

The mission statement of the Murie Audubon Society is to conserve wildlife and birds through natural habitat enhancement, appreciation, understanding, advocacy, conservation, and education. It’s their vision to current and future generations develop a passion for nature through understanding, awareness, conservation, enjoyment, appreciation, and advocacy.

This is a great group to join because they go on field trips and special events during the year. So, if you were looking to connect with other like-minded birdwatching enthusiasts, you should definitely get involved with this exciting group.

Contact Info:

Mailing Address
Murie Audubon Society
PO Box 2112
Casper, WY 82602

Phone: 307-258-1255
Email: [email protected]

Past and Future Events:

  • Field Trip to Reshaw Park – this upcoming event is taking place in February 2022. The group will meet on Sunday, February 13 at 10 AM in Evansville to spend time looking at the winter and ducks. Stacy Scott is hosting the event. If you need to contact her for any reason, call 262-0055 to get more details. The field trip ends at 11:30 AM.
  • Jackson Canyon Field Trip – this event is also being held in February 2022. It takes place on Monday, February 21 at 3:30 PM. The group will meet at the Wyoming 220 turn out. This is at the opposite corner of Goose Egg Inn. This hike is strenuous, but you’ll have an opportunity to get a look at many eagles on this hike, so it’s definitely worth it. Stacy Scott is hosting the event and if it’s snowing too hard that day, or it’s too cold, the event will be canceled.

Membership Fees:

Joining the Murie Audubon Society is really easy. They have a web page set up here that you can visit and use the sign up online. Each membership expires on September 30 every year. Membership is relatively inexpensive because it only costs $10 per year. If you decide to sign up for multiple years online, you can pay anywhere from $10-$50 and join for one through five years, depending on what you prefer.

You can download the membership form here.

You can either fill out the membership form electronically or printed, fill it out, and mail it to the following address:

Make Check Payable to
Murie Audubon Society
PO Box 2112
Casper, WY 82602

Bighorn Audubon Society

Avid bird watchers living in Northeast Wyoming including Weston, Campbell, Sheridan, Johnson, and Crook will find a community of like-minded individuals in this chapter of the National Audubon Society. This group works closely with Audubon Rockies and they regularly spent time visiting federal public lands including Bighorn National Forest, Thunder Basin National Grassland, Devils Tower National Monument, and more birding hotspots.

Their mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, wildlife, birds, and natural habitats for humanities benefit. If this mission sounds even remotely interesting to you, you should definitely consider becoming a member of this prestigious group.

Contact Info:
Bighorn Audubon Society
PO Box 535
Sheridan, WY 82801

Email: [email protected]

Past and Future Events:

  • Monthly Board Meeting – this board meeting typically takes place every month on the first Monday of the month. In February, it’s happening on February 7, 2022 from 5 PM to 6:30 PM. All members are welcome to join before or after the business part of the meeting. In the regular business meeting, the board members get together to discuss the current chapter business.
  • Birding at The Brinton – this regular birding event takes place on the third Saturday of every month. In this case, the upcoming field trip is happening on February 19, 2022 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM. The group meets in the parking lot at 9 AM and the group will enjoy a fun filled hour and a half of birdwatching. Attending these birdwatching adventures is a great way to get to know other birding enthusiasts just like you.

Membership Fees:

Joining the Bighorn chapter of the National Audubon Society is really easy to accomplish. Visit this page here and follow the on-screen instructions to sign up. Remember to choose code Z51 to become identified as a member of this particular local chapter.

Membership levels include:

  • $20 monthly
  • $25 monthly
  • $30 monthly
  • $40 monthly
  • $50 monthly
  • $50 annually
  • $75 annually
  • $100 annually
  • $250 annually
  • $500 annually 

Choose the most suitable amount that you can afford. If you want to donate extra money to the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, feel free to pay a higher level of support.

Final Thoughts: The Foremost Wyoming Birding Destinations & Clubs

I think it’s great that you’re interested in birdwatching in Wyoming. There are so many amazing birdwatching hotspots in this state. Great Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are two of the most amazing bird watching locations in the entire world. So, I really hope you’ll use this resource the next time you intend to go birdwatching with family members, friends, or a solo mission.

Our goal is to create the best birdwatching resource in the state of Wyoming and the entire US. If you have any recommended resources to share with us, please drop us a line and let us know about them. We would be happy to add them to our ever-growing and expanding website of birding resources.

Our goal is to continue to be the best Wyoming birdwatching resource on the Internet today. Help us continue our mission by sharing your favorite bird watching resources as well. We thank you for your support and look forward to hearing from you!

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