Deer at water side Rocky Mountains

Animals that freely roam the Canadian Rockies

The Rocky Mountains are one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders and it’s no surprise that many of nature’s most beautiful creatures have chosen it as their forever home. Stretching across the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, there’s many folds and creases for them to be nesting in and spotting them isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Saying that, keeping your eyes out for these creatures is definitely worthwhile – you just need a little know-how on what you’re looking for, when you’re likely to see them, and where.

Elk

Elk in the Canadian Rockies

The elk population in the Canadian Rockies clocks in somewhere between 800 to 1000. They are the most frequently seen large mammal in Banff National Park, and are easy to spot thanks to their size and striking antlers.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn sheep in the Canadian Rockies

One of the best times of years to spot these alpine sheep is fall and winter. The males come down from their rocky ledges to engage in their majestic head-butt fights in order to impress one of the females. Sometimes the clash of horns is so loud you can hear the echo from further down the mountain.

Moose

Moose in the Canadian Rockies

An animal that is synonymous with Canada, it’s worth keeping an eye out for this national treasure. Many travel guides have collectively named Maligne Lake area as one of the best places to see them for yourself.

Bear

grizzly bear

Grizzly bears are more commonly found in the western provinces of Canada whereas black bears can be found across the country – both, however, are found in the Canadian Rockies. Fall is one of the best times to spot this type of bear as this when they forage in order to build as much fat as they can before winter. They usually start hibernating in October.

Related Blog: Know Your Bears: the cubs you’ll spot in Canada

Wolves

Wolves in the Canadian Rockies

Wolves are an integral part of the Rocky Mountain’s mystique and are known to stalk around the peaks. They were re-introduced in 1982 and there are about 45 wolves in Banff National Park alone, but their nocturnal and reserved nature makes them an uncommon sight – though the sound of their howl over Banff is not uncommon.

Coyote and Fox

coyote canada

The wolf is not the only member of the canine family found wandering the Canadian Rockies. Both the coyote and fox are regular patrons, with the Vermilion Lakes and Bow Valley Parkway being touted as popular spots. Both are nocturnal and are more likely to be spotted in the late evening or very early morning.

Cougar and Lynx

Lynx in the Canadian Rockies

Out of all the animals on this list, these two breeds of wild cat might be the hardest to spot. While there’s still a healthy population in the Canadian Rockies, they are shy and nocturnal by nature. If you do spot either of them, it is easy enough to tell the difference: the cougar is larger and has distinctive black markings on its ears, tail, and face.

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