Bicknell Bottoms, a 670-acre wildlife habitat located along the Fremont River is a bird watching wonderland. The bottoms are located about 3.5 miles southeast of the small town of Bicknell. This designated wildlife management area was once the site of a shallow lake. Now the mix of wetlands and farmland are particularly attractive to waterfowl and other birds such as marsh wren, northern harrier and southwestern willow flycatcher. Spring and fall migrations offer some of the best opportunities for sighting large flocks.
Plan Your Visit
Visit Bicknell Bottoms in spring or fall and you’re sure see migrating birds taking a break in the marshlands during their long commute. You may even catch a glimpse of a rare protected species such as the Bald Eagle and American White Pelican. Birding is mostly done from the road and occasionally by canoe. Don’t forget your spotting scope and camera! Pine Creek and the Fremont River flow through part of Bicknell Bottoms, and are stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Fishing is allowed in the WMA, but take care when wading through the soft mud and dense, marshy vegetation. There are some good-sized fish here, but fishing is more common a bit downstream.
Geese find a place for rest and a meal in this ideal spot. Originally used for irrigation and livestock grazing by private farmers, the lands that make up Bicknell Bottoms were purchased by the UDWR to provide a habitat for waterfowl, upland game birds and fisheries, with public access. The J. Perry Egan fish hatchery located in Bicknell Bottoms is one of the most important sport fish stockeries in the state. Nearby, a colony of the protected Utah Prairie Dog has also found refuge here.
Over the years, steps have been taken to improve both the habitat and sport fishing. In 2008, the Bicknell Bottoms WMA was designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) in accordance with the National Audubon Society.
Learn more about other wildlife viewing opportunities in Capitol Reef Country.
HOW TO GET TO BICKNELL BOTTOMS
To reach Bicknell Bottoms, take UT-24 southeast from Bicknell for 2.5 miles. Turn right (south) on Aquarius Plateau road, which crosses the Fremont River. Continue along this road for about a mile. This marshy section of land is owned by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and foot access is permitted. (Other lands in and around Bicknell Bottoms are privately owned or managed by the BLM). There is also access from Bicknell by traveling south on 400 West for two miles to the Fremont River.