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Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
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Wildlife in Banff National Park

Fall is a significant season for wildlife in the Bow Valley, as it marks the onset of mating or rutting season for elk. Their antlers are also fully grown at this time, before they are shed in the spring. During fall, male elk gather herds of female elk called harems. Elder males typically challenge each other with their antlers as a sign of dominance and fight over breeding with their female counterparts.

Keep your distance from the elk, as during mating season, elk prefer open spaces and golf courses and parks may look very attractive to them. 

Known as the “Hiking Capital of Canada,” the area of Lake Louise offers a variety of sightseeing opportunities for not only elk, but other awe-inspiring wildlife. From pikas to grizzlies, we promise you’ll enjoy the excitement of seeing animals in their natural habitat.

View our Fall Activity Guide for more information on the activities available to you during your visit to the Lake Louise area.

Lake Louise gondola

Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola

One of the best ways to take in the Lake Louise wildlife is by riding the gondola. It’s a 14 minute ride to the top where you can choose to cruise in a four passenger open chair or a fully enclosed gondola. With frequent animal sightings, there’s a chance that on your way to the top (an elevation of 2088 m/ 6850 ft) you will see grizzly bears, black & brown bears, cougars, lynx, mountain goats, wolves, elk, mule & whitetail deer, moose, big horn sheep and many others.

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Icefield Parkway

Roadtrip up the Icefield Parkway

Fall is an excellent time to travel around the Icefield Parkway and spot wildlife. You will see plenty of animals along the way; from cougars and elk to mountain goats and bighorn sheep, along with more than 250 bird species, from the common gray jay to the rarer white ptarmigan. There is so much snow up high on the mountains that the animals come down in order to find nutrition. Quite often, on a good day you will see every major animal who share our park. Please be sure to drive carefully to protect these animals and of course, if you see a bear – please stay in your car which will help save them from human habituation.

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Bow Valley Parkway

Travel the Bow Valley Parkway

There's a good chance you'll see wildlife while traveling along the scenic Highway 1A, also known as the Bow Valley Parkway. Spanning 48 kilometres, the highway runs parallel to Highway 1. Take the drive early in the morning to increase your chances of spotting wildlife. Highway 1A is accessible from Highway 1, just west of Banff. You can choose to get back on Highway 1 at Castle Mountain junction or you can continue on to Lake Louise Ski Area.

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Banff Wildlife Tours

Banff Wildlife Evening Tour

Discover the challenges of protecting animals and their habitat in Banff National Park. On this evening journey, travel through a variety of landscapes and learn about wildlife, their needs and how the National Parks management of wildlife has changed over the years. Leave the Safari with a greater understanding of the National Park and the animals that live within it.

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