The Best Places to See Wildlife in Jasper, Canada

Bears walking along the road are a common sight in Jasper National Park
Bears walking along the road are a common sight in Jasper National Park | © Brandon Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Patrick Twomey
22 July 2020

Wildlife can be found in almost every corner of this mountain city in Canada. Elk walk down the streets of the town, as do bears. Jasper National Park is more than 4,247sqmi (11,000sqkm), and only five percent is accessible by road. This vast protected area is home to all the mountain species, including very elusive wolverines and golden eagles.

As Jasper is wild, it must be respected. Wildlife should never be approached, even when it makes its way into town, and you should always explore the surrounding areas with bear spray in your pocket. Make sure to educate yourself on how to interact with animals correctly and keep a safe distance.

Maligne Lake Road

Architectural Landmark
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The road up to Maligne Lake is a wildlife corridor. As it’s home to bighorn sheep, bears, deer, elk and eagles, a trip to this lake is an almost sure-fire way to ensure you see some wildlife on your day out. Even when no creatures are spotted here, the Colin and Queen Elizabeth mountain ranges, in which the lakes are based, are still worth the drive. Make sure to stop at the Medicine Lake viewpoint on your way; this is a great place to try to spot little pikas in the rocks.

Maligne Lake and Moose Lake

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Moose at the shoreline of the Maligne lake, Jasper Nationalpark, Alberta, Canada
© Jürgen Weginger / Alamy Stock Photo
Maligne Lake is one of the few areas in the Alberta Rockies where moose-spotting is common. Moose are aquatic animals, preferring the lush green vegetation that grows in lakes, and they are excellent swimmers. They can also be huge and somewhat unpredictable, so you should always view them from a distance. Moose Lake is a pleasant 15- or 20-minute walk from Maligne Lake, across the only bridge.

Pyramid Lake Road

Architectural Landmark
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On the benchland, up behind town, wildlife is ubiquitous. Along with elk, both black and grizzly bears are often seen walking and foraging near Pyramid Lake Road. Coyotes are also common, and big cats frequent the area but are much more difficult to spot. When walking the trails, listen quietly for the spruce grouse beating their wings to attract a mate.

Jasper Park Lodge

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Golfers on the 16th green at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club course in Jasper, Alberta.  Pyramid Mountain is in the background
© All Canada Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

The grounds around Fairmont’s Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) are home to many species that enjoy the relative safety of the resort area. As well as elk and deer, there is also the odd lone wolf, coyote and even bear. JPL is home to Canada’s number-one-rated golf course, where it’s common to have to play around elk and avoid bears on the fairways.

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Miette Hot Springs

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Visit the Miette Hot Springs, located one hour east of Jasper towards Edmonton, to enjoy a dip in the pools while looking for local wildlife. The drive here is incredibly scenic, with bighorn sheep usually hanging around, and the hot springs are a wildlife hub. Animal spotting is particularly good in the evening, as sheep will walk through the parking lot as you soak in the pools.
These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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