How to Spot Wildlife in Banff National Park

Visitors flock to Alberta’s Banff National Park year-round for rugged mountain scenery and fascinating wildlife—grizzly bears, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and more. Here are some tips to get the most out of your wildlife viewing experience in the Canadian Rockies. 

  • Take a ride aboard the Lake Louise Gondola, a scenic alpine lift that provides the perfect vantage point to scout for Banff’s famous Grizzlies during the summer months. 
  • Drive the Lake Minnewanka Loop Road, a route that’s famous for frequent sightings of bighorn sheep and mountain goats. 
  • Explore the Bow Valley Parkway, a road near the Trans-Canada Highway that’s known for elk, black bear, grizzly bear, and moose encounters.
  • Plan a summer or winter wildlife safari tour, offering unique insight into how the behaviors and habitats of Banff’s animals change based on the time of year.
  • Get a closer look at Banff’s famous grizzly bears during an in-depth tour covering a gondola ride, park sightseeing, and a stop at a local grizzly bear refuge.
  • Search for wildlife from the water by taking a whitewater rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River.
  • Keep your distance when observing the animals: Officials from Parks Canada recommend staying back at least 660 feet (200 meters) from wolf or coyote dens, 330 feet (100 meters) from bears, and 100 feet (30 meters) from other large species.
  • Pick the right time of day. Wildlife sightings are most common in early morning and late evening, so plan your outings accordingly.
  • Stay quiet and go slowly, as loud noises and sudden movements can easily startle creatures.
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