Wildlife in Banff National Park – 3M5S

Wildlife in Banff and Lake Louise

Walk on the Wildside

Where the wild things are

Our three ski resorts are located within the boundaries of Banff National Park, so there is a very good chance you will spot some of our local residents! Viewing wildlife in Banff National Park is a bucket list item for many visitors, and you can see a range of different species throughout the seasons, so make sure you bring your camera!

You never know when you will run into wildlife in Banff, so if you do, please be mindful and give them lots of space. Also, make sure you dress for success with many warm layers so you can roam safely.

what you might see

Elk

You’d be hard pressed to not lay eyes on an Elk during your stay in Banff. These big fellas can grow to be up to a 1000 lbs and grow antlers that may be over 4ft in size (1.2m). Female elk are slightly smaller and will not have antlers.

Grizzly Bear

Spring is a special time for Banff’s apex predator. After a long winter of hibernation, the grizzly bears of Banff and Lake Louise will emerge from their den in search of food. They have been spotted emerging from their dens as early as March 17 recently.

Beaver

The world’s finest engineers can be found throughout the many waterways of Banff National Park. Beavers are well know for their intricate dam construction – For a great example, check out the dam on the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore.

Big Horn Sheep

If you’re stuck in a Banff traffic jam, there’s a good chance that a herd of Big Horn Sheep are to blame. You’ll find no shortage of Big Horn Sheep on the Lake Minnewanka loop and in other steep, rocky areas, including the upper slopes of Mt. Norquay.

Mule Deer

White rump? Check. Giant ears? Check. Must be a mule deer! The only animal more plentiful than elk in the Banff Townsite are mule deer. Their light brown colour makes them difficult to spot, but if you look carefully, you’ll be sure to find a few .

Harlequin Duck

These stunning sea ducks are a very unique addition to Banff’s ecosystem. From April to September, “Harlies” travel to Banff and other mountain areas to nest in the river systems. (The only North American coastal duck to do so!)

wildlife viewing safety

Seeing animals in their natural habitat is exciting; even Banff and Lake Louise locals are still star-struck when they cross paths with some of Banff National Park’s furry residents. Although we call these animals our neighbours, it’s still important to remember that they are wild and deserve respect and space. Follow the tips recommended by Parks Canada in our blog on how to ensure the safety of wildlife for generations to come.

staying warm

We won’t fib, Canadian winter can sometimes be pretty cold, but we have spent the past 136 years perfecting the art of staying warm. Being prepared for winter temperatures is one of the best ways you can make sure you get the most out of your Banff and Lake Louise adventures! Need some help knowing how to stay toasty in the Great White North? Take a read through some of our blogs!

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FROM OUR BLOG

Wildlife & Outdoor Experiences

Grizzly Bear and cubs. (Ursus arctos)

The Bears of Banff

Elk on the road to Two Jack Lake. Photo by Jason Hill @jasoncharleshill|

Six Ways to Safely Watch Wildlife in Banff National Park

LLSR-Sightseeing-Summer-Grizzly

Wildlife in Banff National Park: The Great Predators