The Rocky Mountains offer some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Canada, if not North America. For many people spotting wildlife can be the highlight of their trip. When it is a grazing elk, a whistling marmot or a black bear playing it’s cubs, you’re sure to encounter many wild creatures.
Also called’Whistlers’ due to the shrill, whistle-like noise they make. They are photo-friendly creatures who live high in the alpine.
Spot them: High mountain trails; often at the top of the Jasper Tramway on Whistlers mountain.
Appropriately named because their horns are huge, they are usually used as a symbol of the Rocky Mountains.
Place them: On Yellowhead Highway east of of the town of Jasper, the north end of Jasper Lake, and Lake Minnewanka Road.
They’re probably about as close as it gets to an all-Canadian creature. You might need to look up to see them though, because they prefer the inland areas, particularly cliffs or steep slopes.
Spot themAlong the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper.
Grizzly bears (or brown bears as they are sometimes known) are possibly the most notorious of all creatures in the Rockies. They are recognisable by the large hump in their shoulders, although you probably won’t need to get close enough to detect it.
To make things confusing they too are often brown in color. Keep your eyed open and return!
Spot themAlong the Banff-Radium Highway, notably between Dolly Varden Picnic area and Mount Harkin Viewpoint and along the Icefields Parkway in notorious’bear jams’.
MOOSE & ELK
Recognisable by their enormous antlers and bulbous nose, moose are usually quite timid animals. During mating season (October – November) they can become more competitive, and you might hear them making a very loud, peculiar bellow as they attempt to attract a mate.
Elk are quite a common sight in the Rockies and they often seem fairly tame as they graze nonchalantly by the roadside. It is worth giving them a wide berth though, especially during the mating season (fall) since they’ve been known to attack.
Spot themAlong the roadside, especially Highway 93A between Banff and Jasper.