The environs of central California offer a lot of wildlife. Deer, elk, and even pronghorn antelope are common here at Roaring Camp. We can be on one of our gold tours and see a herd munching away calmly. Thankfully, predators are few and far between. What’s been rumored as the only bear ever seen in the valley keeps a weather eye on our museum from the corner, stuffed and mounted long ago. Part of this may be because of the steep grades that long made the area inaccessible even to miners, despite the wealth hidden in our cliffs. Bears just aren’t as good at overcoming the impasses our deer can.

Of course, birds are a big draw here, with eagles and hawks plentiful. Bald eagles and golden eagles call this area home, and are often sighted by birders out for a hike. It’s a wonderful place to see them calmly surveying the fields and streams below, and to see them soar and hunt. Red-tail hawks and red-shoulder hawks are also common here. Get lucky and you may even see a California condor.

Quail, magpie, and a range of jays are also common here. It’s so relaxing to step into nature and hear the birdsong back and forth throughout your entire day. It takes away from the stress of sitting in front of screens all day.

The waterfowl is incredible. Pelicans, cranes, loons, grebes, swans, geese, ducks – it’s the lakes removed from the city and suburbs that these animals frequent most, and our valley allows them quiet from so many of those things.

And of course, there’s the fishing. Many visitors come for the fishing, to enjoy days under the sun and sky where all they have to worry about is their bait and what’s biting.

Come out and re-connect with what’s happening in nature. Breathe deep, clean air and listen to the way the natural world soothes. Whichever reason you visit – panning for gold, camping, swimming, hiking…make sure to pause and look around you. You never know what amazing animals you and your family will get to see!