How to See a Desert Bighorn

Bring binoculars and, if possible, a spotting scope to best observe desert bighorn. These animals blend in with their surroundings and are difficult to observe, so do not be surprised if you have difficulty locating them. Look for movement and a splash of white. They often appear smaller against the landscape than you think they will when starting your search.

Bighorn sheep habitat with difficult to see bighorn - open in new window
Can you spot the bighorn ram? CDFW photo by Ashley Evans.

Field biologists looking for bighorn sheep - open in new window
Desert bighorn crew members using spotting scopes to monitor desert bighorn sheep. CDFW photo by Ashley Evans.


A view of desert bighorn as seen through a spotting scope - open in new window
A view of desert bighorn as seen through a spotting scope. CDFW photo by Paige Prentice.

Stay safe at all times. Desert bighorn inhabit steep terrain in one of the most extreme environments on Earth. Temperatures in the summer can reach 120°F, and heat stroke is a very real and serious possibility. CDFW does not recommend looking for desert bighorn in the Mojave Desert during the summer months. Always carry enough water (3 liters or more!), wear long sleeved clothing and a hat, and know your limitations.

For relaxed viewing of bighorn sheep, visit the San Diego Safari Park, Los Angeles Zoo, or California Living Museum. For more information on how to see wild desert bighorn, feel free to contact us. For information on viewing Sierra Nevada bighorn, go to the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep page and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Visit to learn How You Can Help desert bighorn.