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Home  >  Outdoor Activities  >  Wildlife


Retreat To The Splendor Of Our Rocky Mountain Wildlife Centers And Refuges

Think of the Northern Rockies as a massive animal preserve – an oasis where you’ll see pronghorns, bobcats, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bison, and eagles. Bring your passion for the outdoors to a variety of Rocky Mountain wildlife parks and sanctuaries. Imagine walking along a lowland river and spotting a white-tailed deer or busy beavers. Take a scenic drive on secluded winding roads. You might see a buffalo or mountain sheep grazing contentedly on the shoulder. Your Rockies wildlife excursion will be like visiting a zoo without bars. No wonder this exquisite region is known as North America’s Serengeti.

  • Watchable Wildlife in Idaho : Wildlife is nearer than you think. The secret is knowing where and when to look! Idaho has some of the most beautiful, scenic country, much of which is public land. Breathtaking views of forests, mountains, springs, grasslands, hot springs, and rivers abound. All this means great habitat for wildlife and great wildlife viewing. For Wildlife Viewing Opportunities in Idaho from the Kootenay National Wildlife Refuge in the northern part of the state - near the International Selkirk Loop - to Harriman State Park in SE Idaho near the Yellowstone Grand Teton Loop, visit this Idaho website
  • Watchable Wildlife in Montana : In Montana, everyone has a few wild neighbors. We're not talking about the typical wild neighbors who throw all-night parties; we're referring to antelope, elk, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, eagles, trumpeter swans, bears, wolves, and more. In fact, Montana has a greater variety of wildlife than any other state in the lower 48. Think of us as a giant, natural animal preserve.  Fro places to look for specific species learn more at this Montana website .  To learn more about Clearwater Canoe Trail outside of  Seeley Lake, along the Montana Scenic Loop, click here .
  • Circle the Continental Divide Driving Tour:  In Dubois Wyoming, you can encounter herds of wildlife close-up in their winter habitat, especially the Whiskey Basin Bighorn Sheep herd.  A 10-mile scenic drive will take you to the trailhead and past the basin at the base of Whiskey Mountain (named for an early resident’s liquor still and cache of whiskey.) This is the home of one of the largest native herds of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. There is a wildlife viewing area with a public telescope 2.5 miles from the highway.  You may spot antelope, elk and mule deer as well as the bighorn sheep. Peak viewing of the Bighorn Sheep rut is in November and early December.
  • Glacier National Park  – Called “North America’s Crown Jewel”. Boasts more than 700 miles of maintained trails, sparkling lakes, alpine glaciers, and deep forests.
  • Yellowstone National Park  -- Affectionately called “Nature’s Amusement Park”. Hike or backpack amid steaming hot springs, shooting geysers, and roaring waterfalls.
  • Waterton Lakes National Park – Spanning 203 miles of rugged mountains and wilderness. Part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, designated as a World Heritage Site for its scenery and wealth of plant and animal species.
  • Grand Teton National Park  – Grand Teton preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at its base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park  – Since time immemorial, the Nimiipuu or Nez Perce have lived among the rivers, canyons, and prairies of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Despite the cataclysmic change of the past two centuries, the Nez Perce are still here. Explore the park's 38 sites and experience the story of a people who are still part of this landscape.
  • Hells Canyon National Recreation Area  – Hugging the borders of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho, this national showcase holds 652,488 acres of beauty and adventure, where you can let your senses run as wild as the landscape. Features North America’s deepest gorge.
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area  – One of the largest, most magnificent National Recreation Areas in the United States. Four mountain ranges -- the Sawtooths, Boulders, White Clouds, and Smokies -- provide scenic landscapes in every direction, with more than 50 major peaks over 10,000 feet, 300 lakes, and 250 miles of trails. There are also more than 1,000 high mountain lakes.
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area  – The canyon offers a diversified landscape of forest, mountains, upland prairie, deep canyons, broad valleys, high desert, lakes, and wetlands.
  • Yoho National Park  – One of Canada’s 41 national parks. Yoho is home to surging waters, looming peaks, pounding waterfalls, glacial lakes, and patches of pretty meadows.
  • Kootenay National Park  – From glacier-clad peaks along the Continental Divide to semi-arid grasslands of the Rocky Mountain Trench, where cactus grows, Kootenay National Park is noted for its diversity of landscapes, ecology, and climate.
  • Banff National Park  – Canada’s first national park. Spanning 2,564 square miles of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows, and rivers, Banff is one of the world's premier destination spots.
  • National Elk Refuge  – In addition to elk, the refuge hosts bison and about 175 species of birds, including bald eagles, giant osprey, and great blue herons.
  • Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center , West Yellowstone, MT -- Experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves. All the animals in the center are no longer to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their species. (406) 646-7001;
  • Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area , Creston, BC – Located in British Columbia’s Kootenay region. Situated six miles west of Creston off Hwy 3 and is open from May to October, with programs running May to August. Naturalists are on site to provide guided canoe tours, trail maps, and information. Educational exhibits, a science lab, and a nature gift shop will entice you to stay and explore. (250) 402-6908;
  • Kicking Horse Grizzly Refuge, Golden, B.C. – Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is home to the world’s largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat. Interpretive tours give guests a unique opportunity to view this incredible animal and learn about the plight of this blue-listed species.
  • Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre , Golden, B.C. – Promotes wolf and bear conservation throughout the natural environment. Interpretive talks about wolves and their role in a healthy ecosystem are offered daily, and the centre customizes educational programs for groups and schools. The wolves are also used for photography, some documentary work, and a little adventure. (250) 344-6798;
  • Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Lima, MT -- One of the most renowned bird-watching areas in the Rocky Mountains. Admire the majestic trumpeter swans. 406-276-3536
  • Nez Perce National Forest, Idaho  — 2.2 million acres of beautiful and diverse land from the dry, rugged canyons of the Salmon River to the moist cedar forests of the Selway drainage. The Forest is best known for its wild character and has abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. Nearly half of the Forest is designated wilderness.
  • Clearwater National Forest , Idaho -- Covers 1.8 million acres from the jagged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains in the east to the river canyons and the rolling hills of the Palouse Prairie in the west. The mountains provide habitat for elk, moose, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, gray wolf, cougar, mountain goats, and many smaller mammals.
  • Wolf Education and Research Center , Winchester, Idaho  --  The center will provide the public with the rare opportunity to observe and learn more about the wolf in its natural habitat. It is our goal to be an inclusive organization that offers factual and balanced information.
  • Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge , Bonners Ferry, ID -- This 2,774 acre refuge was established in 1964, primarily to provide important habitat and a resting area for migrating waterfowl. The Refuge is comprised of a wide variety of habitat types. Wetlands, meadows, riparian forests and cultivated agricultural fields (for producing valuable wildlife food crops) are interspersed in the valley bottom adjacent to the west banks of the Kootenai River.
  • Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge , Colville, WA -- Located on the west slope of the Selkirk Mountain Range 7 miles east of Colville, it is the only mountainous, mixed-conifer forest refuge in the lower 48 states, and is 41,573 acres consisting mostly of mixed conifers.. It was established in 1939 to provide a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. There are recreation trails, camping and an auto tour through this refuge. Over 200 bird species can be seen here.


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