Before the race track was completed in 1957, the Laguna Seca Recreation Area as we know it was untouched land owned by the military - making a perfect habitat for a significant number of wild animals. Both predator and prey made it their home, and the construction of the track didn’t seem to faze them or diminish their presence at all.
Blacktail Deer are spotted daily, grazing near the campgrounds. They’re timid, alert, and commonly seen in groups. These grazers can be found throughout the Peninsula but stay on the edges of the forests near the coast. They don’t have thumbs or a taste for sports, but they’re in abundance near golf courses where the freshest grass grows.
Bobcats, coyotes, and gray foxes are also common predators in the park during dawn and dusk. With the abundance of ground squirrels in their elaborate tunnels spread throughout the park, there are plenty of opportunities for these animals to catch a meal.
Mountain lions, the cat known by many names, are rarely seen as they’re incredibly elusive and wary of humans. A hungry cat does wander within the park boundaries from time to time, as they prefer to stay within close range of their prey. On the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trails outside the park is where they’re spotted most, so stay alert and be careful trekking the trails at night, dawn or dusk.
In the skies of the park are a diverse group of raptors. Red tailed hawks, red shouldered hawks, Ferruginous and Cooper’s hawks frequently patrol the skies. At night, great horned owls, Western screech owls, long and short eared owls fly silently as they hunt. One of only 518 California Condors in the region will occasionally ride the thermals high above the track, while American crows seem the most curious about the people and action on track.
In the lake, Mallard ducks are the most common, followed closely behind by the Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret and smaller, more agile Green Heron. In the winter, Pintail and Bufflehead ducks visit during their winter migration. Western Bluebirds, meadowlarks, warblers and wrens fill the area with song.
Campers get the opportunity to be greeted by many of nature’s incredible creatures in all three campgrounds, though they’re more likely to be met by racoons, opossums and a wide array of frogs - including the Northern Pacific Treefrog, who sit high up in the trees and call as they emerge in the fall from their summer hibernation. California brush rabbits and quail are usually seen together coming in and out of the bushes looking for food.
These creatures and more can be seen from all parts of the park, and we encourage you to see them for yourself. Visit the Laguna Seca Recreation Area page to learn more.