Wildlife in the Rocky Mountains

Alberta, Canada, Lake, Mountains, Banff

The Rocky Mountains offer some of the best wildlife watching opportunities in Canada, if not North America. For lots of people spotting wildlife can be the highlight of the trip. Whether it is a grazing elk, a whistling marmot or a black bear playing with it’s cubs, you are sure to encounter many wild creatures.

HOARY MARMOT

Also called’Whistlers’ because of the shrill, whistle-like sound they make. They’re photo-friendly creatures who live high in the alpine.

Spot them: High mountain trails; often on top of the Jasper Tramway on Whistlers mountain.

BIGHORN SHEEP

Appropriately named because their horns are enormous, they are often used as a sign of the Rocky Mountains.

Spot themOn Yellowhead Highway east of of the town of Jasper, the north end of Jasper Lake, and Lake Minnewanka Road.

MOUNTAIN GOAT

You may need to look up to see them though, because they prefer the inland areas, particularly cliffs or steep slopes.

BEARS

Grizzly bears (or brown bears as they’re sometimes known) are possibly the most infamous of all creatures in the Rockies. They are recognisable by the large hump in their shoulders, although you probably won’t want to get close enough to notice it.

To make matters confusing they also are often brown in colour. Spotting either one in the wild is a memorable experience. Keep your eyed open and return!

Place them: Along the Banff-Radium Highway, notably between Dolly Varden Picnic area and Mount Harkin Viewpoint and along the Icefields Parkway in infamous’bear jams’.

MOOSE & ELK

Recognisable with their enormous antlers and bulbous nose, moose are often quite timid animals. During mating season (October – November) they could become more competitive, and you might hear them making a very loud, peculiar bellow as they try to attract a mate.

Elk are quite a frequent sight in the Rockies and they frequently seem fairly tame as they graze nonchalantly from the roadside. It is worth giving them a wide berth however, especially during the breeding season (fall) since they’ve been known to attack.

Spot them Along the roadside, especially Highway 93A between Banff and Jasper.

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