Banff and Jasper – World-Class Wildlife and Scenery in the Canadian Rockies

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Some of the best scenery and wildlife viewing in the world can be found in Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada. Depending on temperatures, mid-May usually provides fantastic opportunities to see grizzly bears, black bears, deer, elk, caribou, mountain goats, bald eagles, wolves, moose, porcupines, and bighorn sheep. The scenic opportunities include the glaciers along the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies.

Banff and Jasper

This is just one of the many grizzly bears we spotted in Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Canadian Rockies. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

How to Get to Banff and Jasper

If traveling by air, fly into the Calgary International Airport, airport code YYC. From there you can rent a car and travel about 90 miles west to Banff National Park. Continue another 180 miles north-north-west to Jasper National Park. Once in Banff, the drive itself is very scenic with many viewing areas and toilet facilities along the way.

What to Do in Banff and Jasper

In addition to the wildlife viewing opportunities, there is spectacular scenery, hiking at all levels of difficulty, fishing, and river rafting. If photography is your passion, this area provides a perfect backdrop around every corner.

Where to Stay Near Banff and Jasper
Banff and Jasper

Lake Louise provides gorgeous scenery near Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Image credit: Cherri Megasko

  • Alpine Village is a cabin resort with cabins to fit the needs of almost any traveler.  It is located in a scenic, wooded location, with views of the Athabasca River and Mt. Edith Cavell.  The office offers a small assortment of snacks for sale, and the resort has a 16′ “hot pool” for the enjoyment of the guests.  The rooms are clean and neatly decorated. The resort is not pet-friendly.
  • Tekarra Lodge offers a variety of cabin choices nestled in a private, wooded setting in Jasper National Park.  The atmosphere is very relaxing and the resort is pet-friendly. Cabins are nicely furnished and provide wood-burning fireplaces. The Lodge has its own fine dining restaurant on-site.
Where to Eat Near Banff and Jasper
  • Tekarra Lodge Restaurant is a fine dining favorite of travelers to Jasper.  Although a little pricey, their menu is innovative and contemporary. Reservations usually aren’t a problem in May, but they are recommended, just in case.
  • Soft Rock Café is a great little cafe that offers the opportunity to surf the web or check your e-mail while waiting on your food.  They offer an assortment of breakfast items, sandwiches and baked goods, and have a full service coffee bar as well. It’s the perfect place for a good, quick, meal with great, friendly service.
Additional Tips on Visiting Banff and Jasper
  • In late spring and summer, the days are long, and it never gets totally dark. If wildlife viewing is the primary purpose for your trip, the best viewing hours will be between dusk and dawn. This tends to get the better of you after a couple of days, so you may want to go back to your hotel/cabin in the middle of the day for a quick nap.
  • Be sure to have your camera out and ready at all times. Wildlife is so abundant that you’re likely to see a bear or moose at any time.
  • Please respect the wildlife’s space, and remember that frequent and/or prolonged exposure to humans can habituate wildlife, making it unsafe for both humans and animals.
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62 thoughts on “Banff and Jasper – World-Class Wildlife and Scenery in the Canadian Rockies

  1. Teresa Rieks

    This sounds like a nice place to go. I love the wildlife aspect of this. I could see me and my husband enjoying a trip like this.

    1. Cherri M Post author

      Teresa – If you guys like wildlife, I highly recommend this destination. With the exception of the trip we took to Kenya, Banff and Jasper have been the best, by far. We have made this trip five times in the past ten years.

  2. Greg

    We have black bears where I live, but it’s not so much fun seeing them when they’re on your front porch at 1:30 in the morning!

  3. Nancy

    Ahh I’ve been there! My husband and I went after his Ironman Canada triathlon back in 2009, and 2011. We loved it at both spots. But I think Jasper was our fav (less touristy) 🙂

  4. R U S S

    Lake Louise looks majestic – it’s serene and just beautiful. I would definitely want to go to Banff and Jasper to see some grizzly bears and moose ( haven’t seen one ). The Alpine Village seems like a great place to stay when visiting Banff and Jasper.

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    For real wildlife lovers, this sounds like the place to be! Look at the gorgeous scenery there. Wow.

  6. Ashley

    That picture of Lake Louise in incredible! I would definitely love to hike in this area, I can’t even imagine the photography opportunities that would present themselves at a place as gorgeous as this! Definitely adding it to the wish list next time we visit Canada, thanks!

  7. Alli

    I can almost smell the fresh air! I would love to see the bears (from a distance) and the other wild life. I’ve never been, but sure looks like a great place to get away from it all.

  8. Terry

    Next summer, we are planning on taking our Grandson, Granddaughter and their parents to Canada on a fishing trip. We haven’t decided where yet, but this looks like the perfect place.

  9. Grace Hodgin

    I have always wanted to travel to Canada. What I hear about it is just so appealing to me and seeing your post with all the great pictures just makes me want to go more. I love that you shared restaurants to visit in the area as when your a tourist that is really handy information to know. We live in the Ocala National Forest so we love seeing nature too.

  10. Joseph

    That looks like some serious outdoors fun! Would love to travel up to Canada for some fresh clean air fun!. I prefer the summer months rather than the cold months.

  11. Bonnie @ wemake7

    I would love to experience that. I cannot believe I have never seen a bear with my own two eyes before.

  12. Mhie Lee

    My father-in-law went there last June and it was a bad timing. It was rainy and gloomy for the week he was there for motorcycle trip. Other than that the place was beautiful and he’s planning to back again.

  13. Cassie

    I have always wanted to visit Canada, and this post makes me want to even more. There just seems to be so many beautiful sights in the “Great White North.”

  14. Roselynn

    I have never heard of this place, but I love discovering new wild life locations. I would love to be able to visit something like this in person one day, it’d be quite the life experience.

  15. Pauline C.

    How awesome would it be to see all these animals! I love adventures! I’m sure my nieces and nephews would dig it too!

  16. michele d

    What a peaceful place to visit. That is something I want to do soon. Looks so relaxing! I love nature. It’s definitely a place to leave your troubles behind.

    1. Cherri M Post author

      Lyndee – Most of the bears we saw were from our vehicle, so it wasn’t so scary. However, the very first grizzly we saw we mistook for something else. My husband got out and went over an embankment to take pictures, and it wasn’t until then that we realized it was a grizzly bear. That was pretty scary indeed! Another time I rolled down my window to look at a black bear off in the distance through my binoculars and I heard a noise. I looked down, and a huge cinnamon-colored black bear was right there at my window. I jumped clear over to my husband’s side of the car.

  17. Yona Williams

    I would love to spot a bear in the outdoors one of these days…from a distance. The wildlife you mentioned here, we don’t have close to me – we do, however, have an abundance of deer….everywhere!

  18. Courtney

    Ong banff and jasper!!! The summer after I graduated high school I went in a summer long trip across Canada and banff was my favorite place!!!! Also jasper was a pretty great camping spot. Had tons of fun :):)

  19. Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies

    The Rockies are absolutely gorgeous! My husband used to be a tree planter and worked out there for a while. He has lots of stories of sleeping in a tent at the foot of the mountains and seeing bears while re-planting trees over the clear cuts. I would love to go out there and visit someday too.

  20. Tonya C

    That looks beautiful and so peaceful! My daughter loves bears and would have totally loved to see one in person and in it’s own habitat…me? I’d be terrified but in awe!

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