Wildlife Viewing and the Bow Valley Parkway
Wildlife spotting is one of our favourite things! Our buses travel along the beautiful and scenic Bow Valley Parkway seven days a week and both our drivers and onboard hosts are keen to spot and stop for any wildlife that we see.
The Scenic Bow Valley Parkway
A road less travelled...
Between the Banff Townsite and Lake Louise Village stretches a beautiful road that meanders through the Rockies. Our buses travel along this route to offer guests the opportunity for spotting wildlife, stunning panoramic photos, and simply because it is a better way to experience Banff National Park.
Wildlife viewing gets even better with the ability to open the windows on every HopOnBanff bus! Travelling along the Parkway is a great opportunity to spot all kinds of different animals. Keep reading below to find out more about Banff National Park's wildlife...
Our buses are the only buses in Banff National Park that have windows that open for clear unobstructed views of animals in their natural habitat.Simply spend the day with us and enjoy the possibility of the best wildlife viewing possible. There is no better way to experience the National Park and all it has to offer than HopOnBanff!
The most sought-after sighting for any visitor to Banff. Grizzly bears are often misunderstood and feared for all the wrong reasons. During the early summer, they are spotted almost daily by HopOnBanff guests on board our buses, or from the Lake Louise Gondola and Chairlift.
While much smaller than the infamous Grizzly bear, they can be seen foraging in many of the same areas. Ranging in colour from black to blonde even. They can be hard to distinguish from Grizzly bears. And while they look cute from a distance it is important to remember that they are wild animals and should be viewed from the safety of the bus. Which is fantastic since the windows all open to get great shots from safety!
Sometimes mistaken for the larger Moose, Elk are a common sight in Banff and are spectacular to see in the fall with their antlers in full growth.
One of our favourite spots for photos of elk is the Hillsdale Meadow along the Bow Valley Parkway. Splendid with the fall colours of the Aspen trees as the backdrop. Our buses routinely stop here for photo opportunities.
Next to the Grizzly, the Moose is the most asked for sighting. They are exceptionally rare to see in Banff, though when you do, you are left feeling something special. Standing up to 2.1 metres tall at the shoulder, and Males (or "bulls") can weigh from 380 to 700 kilograms.!
Most of our Moose sightings are in the Lake Louise area where a female with calf has managed to draw a lot of attention on occasion.
The wolf is similar in appearance to a large German Shepherd, but is lankier with longer legs and larger feet. Its muzzle is larger and less pointed (less fox-like) than that of a coyote. Most wolves in Banff National Park are dark in colour, although colours do range from whitish-gray to black.
Wolves only recently returned to the park after a long absence. There are now 35-40 wolves residing in the park in four different packs, including one pack that uses the Bow Valley between Banff and Lake Louise and is occasionally seen along the Bow Valley Parkway.
Big Horn Sheep
Always exciting to see, Big Horn Sheep impress with the ease at which they scramble up steep, rocky slopes. Rams have massive spirally curved brown horns, while ewes have short, spiky brown horns.
Bighorns are primarily grazers, and migrate seasonally between low grassy slopes and alpine meadows. Escape terrain with rocky ledges is usually nearby.