We love having a free weekend in January to go see the bald eagles in Utah. They can be seen across much of the northern part of the state, but the place we have seen them most concentrated is Sanpete Valley. We take a drive every January down to Sanpete County to find lots of Bald Eagles. We see them sitting in trees, on fence posts, poles, and even on the ground. This is one of our favorite places to see Bald Eagles in Winter right here in Utah.
From our home in north Utah County, the trip to Sanpete is a little over an hour each way. We were greeted this year right at the county line coming out of Salt Creek Canyon by a beautiful golden eagle. He (or she) was hoping around in the snow about 50 yards off the road right across from 3 or 4 deer. It was a great reminder of how huge these birds really are. Even our three year-old could easily enjoy this bird from the car.
We continued up the hill, watching the telephone poles and fenceposts carefully and before we reached Fountain Green we’d seen two bald eagles and several hawks. One eagle was sitting in the snow, and the other was atop a high telephone pole 150 yards to the south of the road.
As we came into Fountain Green, we saw another eagle in a tree on first west. We drove around the block and parked right under him. Eagles almost never fly, no matter how close the car gets. They just aren’t that skittish. We were within 20 yards of the base of the tree with this one.
Throughout the day we a total of 14 eagles, at least that many hawks including Swainson’s hawks, Red-tailed hawks, and kestrels, and a whole bevy of Meadowlarks. We love birdwatching, but especially when we can see bald eagles in Utah. In order to see the bald eagles, keep an eye out for black bodies against the white snow.
The route we take to see eagles is great for seeing deer and elk, though we didn’t see any elk this time. The drive itself takes around an hour if you go slow and watch for the eagles (from the county line). We always end at Roy’s Pizza in Ephraim. We’ve outlined the route to maximize your eagle viewing below.
To get to Sanpete County, take the middle Nephi exit (#225). Head East through the Canyon. On the south end of Fountain Green take a right on the last road following a sign toward Maple Canyon and Wales. This road takes you around the west side of the valley. We saw eagles both sitting and soaring along this road, and we do every January. The road leads through the almost unnoticeable town of Jerusalem, and then into Wales. From Wales, you can go back to Moroni (to the east), but we continue south until the road turns east and ends up in Chester.
Rather than getting back on the highway at Chester, you can continue east all the way into Spring City. Then take a a right down Spring City Main Street and follow the road as it winds south and west back to the 5 mile junction. A right will send you to Ephraim, a left sends you back toward Mount Pleasant, and straight will take you back to Chester, Moroni, and Fountain Green where you started. We’ve seen eagles all along this road, and it’s paved and always plowed quickly after snowstorms.
Good look with the bird-watching! If you are looking for a fun places in northern Utah, check out Farmington Bay to see the eagles in winter, too. Keep an eye out all over Utah. We have spotted them near our home in Lehi, out west near Magna, and along the 1-15 near Beaver. We are so lucky we can see bald eagles in Utah.
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Thanks so much for this post! We had such a great time chasing eagles and hawks over the weekend.
I am so glad that you had a wonderful time and were able to see some eagles!! It’s our favorite winter tradition!
Thank you for this! I’ve seen bald eagles in Idaho on the Main Salmon. And along the highway going to Jackson Hole and in the Snake Canyon area. But I about died when I saw a bald eagle this weekend soaring above Van Cott Peak by the University of Utah and Red Butte Canyon. I loved it! I did a search to see how “common” they are here to try to discredit myself and came across your post. I’m quite sure it was a bald. I tried to take photos and videos but he (or she) was gone just as fast as he showed up.
I’m sure it was a bald eagle. They definitely hang out in Utah all winter long. That is so neat that you spotted one! It’s so fun to see them in the wild.