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Wildlife in Banff National Park


The wildlife in Banff National Park is as diverse as its landscapes. You’ll find over 270 species of birds, from bald eagles to hummingbirds, as well as 59 mammal species that live here year-round. From elk and bighorn sheep to moose and bears, there’s something for everyone to see in this national park.

If you want to get up close with wildlife in Banff National Park head to  Johnston Canyon. Scan the canyon floor for squirrels or chipmunks scampering through the trees and watch for songbirds that fly overhead. If it’s early morning in winter months, you might even catch a glimpse of Banff’s bighorn sheep!


Wildlife viewing opportunities range greatly due to seasonal changes such as migration patterns or breeding behaviours. You’re likely to see different animals depending on the time of year you visit. Bears start their hibernation in the late fall and reappear around the valley floor in the spring. Once the snow melts in the summer months, you’ll see them higher in the peaks before they return to the valley floor again for berries in late summer. Elk rutting (breeding) season is from late August until mid-October, and their calves are born in mid-May to early July. While they are beautiful to admire from afar, elk are more aggressive during these months and it’s important to keep your distance.

Wildlife viewing is a highlight of many outdoor activities in Banff National Park, including hiking, backpacking and wildlife photography.

Photo credit: Banff Lake Louise Tourism.