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Western Bird Watching | Utah and California Spots

Great Camping & Western Bird Watching in Utah & California

Birding, or bird watching, is a popular hobby all over America. Western bird watching is especially popular due to the diverse ecosystems that line this part of the United States. Did you know that Salt Lake City is one of the best western bird watching locations to observe upwards of 250 species of birds – all in one place? The Great Salt Lake is visited by 3-6 million birds each year. Some stay to nest, others are just passing through. One thing is for sure though: it’s a sight to behold for birdwatchers everywhere. The Great Salt Lake is an important resting point for migratory birds on their way to South America, which is why so many of them come to stay.

Utah Camping & Western Bird Watching


western bird watching

Yellow-headed Blackbird at the Great Salt Lake, photo courtesy of

But the Great Salt Lake isn’t the only place in Utah that hosts a number of bird species- Cache Valley is a wonderful place to observe raptors and there are even a few marshland areas to observe waterfowl in the area as well. Logan Utah has several nearby roads with areas to pull over so there’s plenty of opportunity to stop for awhile and just observe the avian life in the area. Up in the mountains, there’s opportunity to observe songbirds as well!

You don’t have to head out to Southern Utah to go bird watching, though. Salt Lake City itself has several areas to check out the local bird life. Miller Bird Refuge is only a few blocks away from our Salt Lake City budget campervan rental depot. This small park within the city is perfect for taking a relaxing stroll, and is home to a few different species of birds.


Western Bird Watching in California

Utah isn’t the only place rich for western bird watching though. California has more recorded bird species than any other state in the contiguous United States. California is home to a wide variety of habitats- from ocean shoreline, to marshland, to high altitude desert, California basically has it all when it comes to western bird watching. Picking where to start can be difficult, with such an array of options it’s no wonder!

Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary in Northern California hosts up to 300 species of birds. If you’re looking to visit one place with the most diversity, Arcata Marsh is definitely the stop for you. For those ocean lovers, this is a good spot to hang out near the shore while observing the local bird life. The visitor’s center has plenty of information about the local species, and information on the latest sightings as well.

western bird watching

Arcata Marsh, photo courtesy of

California Camping & Western Bird Watching

If you’d like to do some camping while you’re enjoying some western bird watching, Yosemite National Park is another great place to observe California’s birds. Late spring through summer is the best time to visit, as some of the higher elevation roads can be shut down due to snowfall. The elusive Black Swift can be found in Yosemite’s lower elevation areas- though it’s a tricky bird to spot! We have a budget campervan rental depots in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles which are with 3 hours of these great California birdwatching and camping locations.

Lost Campers can provide you the vehicle to get you to all these great birding places and more, all while sticking to a budget. Summer reservations are coming in fast- be sure to get your reservation confirmed soon!

Western Desert Camping Tips | Utah & Nevada

Simple Western Desert Camping Tips Can Help You this Summer

Some of the most beautiful places on earth are found in deserts. The dry air, high temperatures, and lack of shade make these unique environments difficult to camp in but the effort is well worth it. Over the summer months, thousands of travelers make their way to America’s gorgeous desert campgrounds – and for good reason! But you don’t want to head out without planning ahead. We’ve put together some western desert camping tips to help keep you cool, hydrated, and having fun during your adventure.

Western Desert Camping Tips Utah & Nevada

Cozy Camp- courtesy of Happy Camper Judy Nguyen

Utah and Nevada are known for their desert environments, and with scenery like you can find in Arches or Great Basin, it’s a reputation well earned! Summer temperatures can easily surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 38C), and with many areas lacking good sources of shade, it can easily wear down the body’s water supply. You’ll want to pack plenty of water for your trip, especially for when you head out on those long walks or strenuous hikes. Hydration needs vary from person to person, but it’s safe to say that you’ll want to bring along 2-3 water bottlers per person while you’re out and about. If you’re starting to get a headache while you’re hiking, you’re already dehydrated! Take frequent water breaks while out for long periods of time. The heat isn’t the only thing that can sap your water supply – Utah’s air is especially dry. If you’re traveling from somewhere with a lot of humidity, you’ll probably notice the difference as soon as you get off the plane.

While deserts are hot during the day, the opposite is true at night. Temperatures can drop down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 4C) when the sun goes down, so be sure to pack along warm sleepwear for nighttime. While you want to avoid cotton for below freezing temperatures, you should be fine using it over the summer season. Always look ahead for the weather forecast in the area you’re traveling to before heading out. If you’re headed to a National Park or State Park, they’ll often have any advisories that you need to be aware of posted on their website! Checking ahead can make your desert camping trip a real success.

Western Desert Camping Tips fo Goblin Valley Utah

Goblin Valley, photo courtesy of

If you’re prone to sunburns, you’ll definitely want to bring along some sunblock. In Utah, the elevation makes it so that even cloudy days can be burn days. Be sure to let your sun screen soak in for about 10-15 minutes before you head out on your next great adventure for extra protection. Even if your skin isn’t prone to burning, you’ll still want to apply some UV protection. People of all skin tones are susceptible to burns and can develop skin cancer from it later in life. And don’t forget the sunglasses! Your eyes need protection from UV rays as well. Bring a comfortable pair of shades to wear while you’re out exploring- your eyes will thank you for it.

Some campers may even want to consider bringing along a basic first-aid kit. Those rocky environments can be difficult to navigate sometimes, so a few scrapes here and there may occur. You can pick up a pre-made kit from most stores like Walgreens or RideAide, but if you’d rather make your own we’ve put together a simple checklist you can use:

  • Band-aids – large and small
  • Neosporin
  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Ibuprofen – or your pain reliever of choice

These items can really help in a pinch if you find yourself or a travel partner injured. While they aren’t 100% necessary for all trips, it’s a good thing to keep in mind for your desert camping trip!

Western Desert Camping Tips for Arches national park, Utah

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park, photo courtesy of

Depending on where you’re traveling, you may want to keep an eye out for native species. Rattlesnakes are well-known inhabitants of Utah’s deserts and parts of Nevada as well. Utah is actually home to two different species of rattlesnakes. They’re a necessary part of the ecosystem, but a rattlesnake bite is no joke. Be sure to keep your eyes on the ground while you’re out and about, these snakes can strike if they feel threatened and they don’t always give a warning. Mind where you’re putting your feet and you’ll be just fine, as snakes are not particularly aggressive and just want to be left alone.

Western Desert Camping Tips for Simple Budget Campervans

Summer is an incredibly popular time to travel, and Lost Campers can provide you a budget way to get to your desert vacation spot. Our Sierra class vans even come with a shade awning attached so that you can make your own little spot to get out of the sun. We’re booking up fast for summer already, so be sure to get your quote today! Know someone that’s planning to do some desert camping this year? Share this post to spread these simple tips to the campers in your life.



Submitted by Aspen in SLC