The Canadian Rockies is known for its vast amount of wildlife. Common animals include deer, bear, mountain lions and goats. While there, it’s not surprising that visitors want to optimize their chances of seeing some of the wildlife. While these animals are all about, there are certain areas of the Rockies where they frequent more than others.
When To See Them
The best time to see them is during the slower tourist seasons. During this time the animals can easily be spotted at lower elevations as they look for food or a partner to mate with. If you are wanting to see animals such as elk, September through October tends to be the best time. For bears, visit the area in the fall when they are foraging for food before going into hibernation. Animals like sheep and deer can be seen year round. To up your chances of seeing many of these creatures, visit the Rockies in the morning, at dawn or later in the afternoon.
Where To Go
The best places to see wildlife in the Canadian Rockies is both Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. Here is a bit of information about each area.
Jasper National Park
One of the biggest reasons why this park is one of the best places to spot wildlife is because of the low amount of tourist traffic it receives. Many of the roads aren’t traveled heavily and animals are more willing to come out thanks to the quieter conditions. The largest variety of animals can typically be seen from early spring until early summer and in the fall. Most of the wildlife can be spotted in the following places:
–Miette Hotsprings- A variety of animals can be found here, especially bighorn sheep.
–Pyramid Lake Road– This is a hotspot for bear and moose.
–Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge– This is a popular hangout for elk.
–Maligne Lake Road– Black bears and bighorn sheep are often spotted here.
Banff National Park
Just like with Jasper, wildlife is in abundance here. Common animals spotted are deer, elk, grizzlies and coyotes. It’s virtually impossible to not see wildlife at Banff National Park, especially in the fall months. Much of the wildlife can be seen at:
–Minnewanka Loop– Along the side of the road you can see wolves, coyotes and even sheep if you look up at the cliffs.
–Vermillion Lakes– Several varieties of deer and elk can often be spotted here.
-Norguay Road– A variety of animals can be seen on this road including sheep and even a cougar from time to time.
-Bow Valley Parkway– This somewhat quiet road has a lot of wildlife roaming nearby during sunrise and sunset with grizzlies and wolves being among them.
While Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are some of the most common places to see wildlife in the Canadian Rockies, there are a few other places where numerous animals can be spotted. These include:
Many visitors report seeing grizzly bears roaming about. In fact, the campground on Lake Louise actually has an electric fence around it to keep them out and to maintain the safety of visitors. Both bears and their cubs are often seen near the lake or some of the grassy slopes.
There are many animals that can be see here. Not only can you see bears along the roadway, but elks, moose and sheep as well. It’s best to look for wildlife when it is cooler out and there is less traffic to disturb them.
This area isn’t frequented by a lot of tourists, which makes it an excellent place to view wildlife. Use caution though as some of the walking trails are prone to have animals roaming around on them, such as coyotes and cougars.
Kootenay National Park
Located near Banff, wildlife is a common occurrence here. Deer are often seen walking about. It’s also home to a very large population of bighorn sheep. A few lucky visitors have been able to see mountain lions as well.
Waterton Lakes National Park
While there is a large population of wildlife visible here, such as bears and sheep, what’s most surprising is the fearlessness of some of the animals when it comes to humans. For instance, much of the deer population is so used to visitors that they don’t even notice when a human is walking by them.
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