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​​​​Many species of migratory and resident birds have been seen in the park, including raptors, songbirds and waterfowl. The most common raptors are the turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk and American kestrel. Less common raptors are the golden eagle and ferruginous hawk. Other common birds observed include mountain bluebird, mountain chickadee, common flicker, gray and Steller's jays, Clark's nutcracker, black-billed magpie, raven and common nighthawk. See the Golden Gate Canyon Bird Checklist.

Moose, m​ule deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbit, porcupine, muskrat, Abert's and pine squirrel, ground squirrel and red fox are commonly seen.

The creeks support cold water fishing species, including rainbow and brook trout. Rainbow trout are also stocked in the ponds, which are managed as a put-and-take fishery.

Wildlife is often more visible in the winter.  Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to observe most animals.  Please keep in mind that winter is the most stressful season for many animals.  Never approach or feed any wildlife. Observe them through binoculars or telescopic lenses.