America’s national parks offer spectacular views, inspiring landscapes, and an abundance of recreational activities, but what about the wildlife?
If you love to view wildlife on your adventures, check out these 6 national parks that offer great opportunities to spot animals in their natural habitat.
Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming
Yellowstone is probably the most well-known park for wildlife viewing, and at 2.2 million acres, animals have plenty of space to roam around in this sprawling landscape.
The park is home to 67 different mammals with the most commonly seen animals being bison, grizzly, elk, black bear, bighorn sheep, wolverines, mule deer, coyotes, bald eagles, mountain lions, and pronghorn.
Tips for viewing: Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are great spots to view bison and grizzly bears. The largest wolf pack in the park calls Lamar Valley home and black bears are often seen in the northern part of the park.
Olympic National Park: Washington
Olympic National Park’s unique ecosystems create an assortment of beautiful habitats for a number of different species. Rain forests, rugged mountains, and the stunning Pacific coast make it possible for visitors to spot bears, cougars, mink, dolphins, sea lions, deer, whales, and so much more.
This park is the only place in the world where you can see Olympic marmots, the Olympic torrent salamander, and the Olympic snow mole. And don’t miss out on the giant slug found in the rain forest, they can grow up to a foot long!
Tips for viewing: Look for Olympic Marmots during the summer months near Hurricane Ridge. From April to May and October through November, search for whales from Kalaloch, Shi Shi, and Rialto Beaches.
Saguaro National Park: Arizona
This 91,000 acre park is home to a number of unique animals that have learned to adapt to the extreme temperatures and scarce water supply in the high mountains. Many of these unusual animals seek relief from the sweltering heat but others, like the jackrabbit, have features that help them stay cool.
Common animals you may see during a visit are Gila monsters, roadrunners, horned lizards, kangaroo rats, and jackrabbits. If you’re lucky, you might also see coyote, fox, and javelinas, or if you travel further into mountains, you might come upon black bears and white-tailed deer.
Tips for viewing: The animals are most active in the early morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve: Alaska
Glacier Bay’s 3.3 million acres of mountains, rainforest, and deep blue waters provide habitats for an abundance of marine and land mammals.
If you’re planning to hike this stunning park, you will have the opportunity to see mountain goats, black bears, wolverines, mink, moose, wolves, and brown bear. On and near the water Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, sea otters, and humpback, gray, and killer whales are common.
If you love bird watching, you can enjoy more than 280 species of birds in Glacier Bay including puffins, geese, swans, and chickadees.
Tips for viewing: Bartlett Cove is an excellent place to view seals, sea lions, and humpback whales. The Bartlett River Trail is popular for moose, coyotes, river otter, and bear while Beardslee Islands offer opportunities to see humpback whales, seals, sea otters, black bear, moose, and a number of unique birds.
Everglades National Park: Florida
Everglades National Park protects a fragile and unique ecosystem that is home to a number of endangered and rare species. This tropical area features more than 700 different kinds of plants and over 350 species of birds.
Everglades National Park is the only place on the planet where you can find both crocodiles and alligators. Other animals you may see include turtles, white-tailed deer, manatee, bottlenose dolphin, opossum, Eastern Cottontail bobcat, red fox, and very rarely, the Florida panther.
Tips for viewing: The best time for wildlife viewing is between December and April. The Anhiga Trail, Shark Valley, and Eco Pond are great places to see wading birds and alligators. Canoeing and kayaking are both excellent ways to get up close and personal with the animals at this park, just remember to keep your distance!
Glacier National Park: Montana
With over one million beautiful acres of mountains, lakes, and forest, Glacier National Park is home to 71 different species of mammals and 276 species of birds.
Common wildlife sightings in this unspoiled wilderness are grizzlies, wolverines, elk, bats, beaver, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goats, gray wolves and pikas. Mountain lions and lynx are rarely seen but they do call this park home.
Tips for viewing: Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel are popular places to view bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and bears. At Hidden Lake Overlook, mountain goats, marmots, bighorn sheep, and the occasional wolverine are common. Head to Two Dog Flats in spring or late fall to see elk or hike to Bullhead Lake to view moose.