Jasper National Park Wildlife
When staying at Rocky Mountain hotels in Jasper your best bet for seeing, watching and photographing wildlife is driving along Maligne Lake drive, between Jasper and Miette Hot Springs or the Icefields Parkway early in the morning or late in the evening. The slow seasons for visitors to Canadian Rockies hotels and accommodations (the fall and spring) tend to be the best times of the year to see animals, particularly bears and moose.
The following is an introduction to the wildlife that call Jasper National Park home.
Click here for more information on Jasper National Park wildlife and wildlife safety It is also suggested to read safety publications available from the Jasper Visitors Information Centre or from Parks Canada and from The Mount Robson Inn – a Canadian Rockies accommodation.
Jasper National Park is home to 53 species of mammals. This incredible diversity of wildlife is a reflection of the wide range of habitats found in the park due to variations in elevation, climate, and plant communities.
Small mammals: There are 29 species of small mammals in Jasper National Park. They range in size from the pygmy shrew, which weighs a fraction of an ounce, to the beaver, which can weigh up to 55 pounds.
Ungulates: There are eight species of ungulates or hoofed mammals in the park. They can be separated into two distinct families: the deer family, which have antlers that fall off and re-grow each year, and the sheep and goat family, which carry true horns that grow throughout the life of the animal. Visitors to the Park are required to keep a safe distance at all times, especially during the fall mating season and the spring calving season.
Carnivores: There are four families of carnivores in the park: the weasel, dog, cat, and bear families. Dog family includes wolf and coyote. Cat family includes mountain lion/cougar and lynx. Bears inhabiting the park are the black bear and the larger grizzly bear.
Over 260 species of birds have been recorded in Jasper National Park. Spring and early summer are by far the most productive seasons. The best time for birding is between an hour before sunrise to 9 or 10 in the morning. Birds are generally more abundant in the montane and wetland habitats of the lower valley than in other areas of the park.
Guided Nature Hiking
There are lots of great options for guided nature hiking in Jasper NationalPark. Stop by the Jasper Information Centre or ask the Front Desk for information about nature hiking in the Canadian Rockies. For even better Rocky Mountain wildlife viewing, ask for binoculars at the front desk: binoculars make hiking safer for everyone, and leave wildlife their own space. We also have suggestions for National Park guides who do excellent programs.
Friends of Jasper Bird Watching Walks
This group offers free hikes and interpretive walks on Sunday mornings starting in May at 7:30 a.m.
Birdwatching Checklist for Jasper National Park
Jasper, Alberta, Canada’s, Christmas bird count is part of one of the largest collaborative, amateur scientific efforts in the world. It has been underway for over 100 years. The Bow Valley Naturalists is the local hosting organization.
Authors we recommend for books on wildlife in the Canadian Rockies include Handbook of the Canadian Rockies Ben Gadd, Valerius Geist, Charlie Russell, Kevin Van Tighem, and Sid Marty.
The Mount Robson Inn is a Rocky Mountain hotel offering year round accommodations in Jasper coupled with outdoor adventures and wildlife sightseeing activities.