Autumn is my favourite time of year to watch for wildlife in Alberta. With five national parks and dozens of provincial parks, you’ll find an abundance of viewing opportunities here. Take a guided wildlife safari in fall to see the eagles soar, elk clash and buffalo roam.
Evening Wildlife Safari in Banff
In Banff National Park, the town of Banff is your launching pad for guided wilderness expeditions. The Wildlife Safari offered by Discover Banff Tours is an excellent introduction to the local wildlife found in this protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The early evening tour is prime time to spot animals as they come out to drink and forage for food. Possible sightings include deer, elk, bighorn sheep and bears. For unforgettable images of wildlife and wilderness, check out the annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival that runs late October through the beginning of November.
Where Eagles Soar at Canmore
In early October, you’ll find me joining up with fellow birdwatchers in the mountain town of Canmore. It’s a time when golden eagles fill the sky in Kananaskis Country on their journey south. The whole town celebrates the fall migration with its Festival of Eagles, featuring guided viewing hikes and interpretive programs.
Walk on the Wild Side at Waterton
Waterton Lakes National Park in the south-western corner of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains is the place to see – and hear – the clash of rutting elk. It’s also home of the three-day Waterton Wildlife Weekend at the end of September. Hanging out with wildlife photographers to learn the tricks of the trade is a personal favourite. Sign up for a guided backcountry hike for a better understanding of the creatures that call this park home. I love the Waterton Shoreline Cruise – it’s a great way to spot wildlife that you might not see from the trail. Elk, deer, and bear are plentiful so be sure to bring your camera.
Buffalo Roam in Elk Island National Park
Through its remarkable conservation efforts, Elk Island National Park has brought the bison back from near extinction. Today they roam free alongside elk, white-tailed deer and moose, in the park located just 45 minutes east of Edmonton. I recommend booking a dusk Watchable Wildlife Tour. My favourite is the Beaver, Bison & Backcountry Buffet where you’ll enjoy a hearty meal before heading out on a wildlife mini-safari to see the animals.