Part of enjoying the Ozarks is being outside, whether that is hiking, climbing, camping, backpacking, skiing, boating, fishing or even wildlife viewing. All living here and those visiting, agree that the area’s wildlife is just as mesmerizing as the landscape itself. The Ozarks are home to several native wildlife species that make the natural beauty what it is. It’s also home to plenty of lesser-known, but equally fascinating animals. Knowing where and what to look for is important in spotting your favorite wildlife. Over hunting and lack of conservation were the main reasons the elk, buffalo, black bear, mountain lion and wolf became extinct in the Midwest. Now, animal lovers have it pretty good. In recent years, the elk and buffalo have been reinstated in Arkansas and Missouri. Dogwood Canyon in Lampe, Missouri is known as Elk-Bison Country. Buffalo National Park in Arkansas is also a favorite for viewing elk in their natural habitat. They can easily be spotted grazing along the roadways as you enter the park. The black bear and mountain lion is also making a comeback as there have been multiple sightings in both, Arkansas and Missouri in the last couple of years. For the bird watchers, we are quite fortunate to have numerous areas for viewing bald eagles. Places like the Roaring River State Park in Missouri, for example, offer the opportunity to watch bald eagles as they soar overhead and stand guard above. Other well known areas for watching the bald eagle include Eagles Bluff Conservation Area, Lake of the Ozarks Bagnell Dam Access, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, and Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri.
Looking for an opportunity to view wildlife in the Ozarks? We've done the work for you. Below is a list of popular areas to do just that!