Northern Rockies Wildlife
Known as the Serengeti of the North, part of the Northern Rockies attraction is the wildlife viewing possibilities. Travelers should be reminded that they are the guests in this natural northern wilderness and their cooperation in keeping the environment safe for both animals and visitors is appreciated.
… travelers are almost guaranteed to encounter wildlife along the Alaska Highway and view some of the most magnificent animals in the world.
As the largest animals in the Northern Rockies, bison can weigh up to 2,000 lbs each. Be careful when driving… and remember bison have the right of way!
Plentiful in the wild, black bears can weigh 220–330 lbs and on average live between 21–33 years. Black bears have a flat looking face, no shoulder hump, short claws and are not always black – they can range in colour from black to brown to blonde.
Although not as commonly seen as black bears, grizzly bears are located within the vast wilderness of the Northern Rockies. Larger than black bears, female grizzly bears can weigh between 200–450 lbs and males 300–1,000 lbs. Grizzlies are distinguished by their shoulder humps and are much more powerful and unpredictable than black bears. Travelers should keep their distance from these majestic creatures.
Caribou often travels together in groups and sometimes run parallel in front of vehicles if approached on the Alaska Highway. Their velvety antlers and beautiful markings distinguish them from the other mammals of the area. Migratory animals, caribou travel up to 5,000 km per year throughout the seasons to forage for food or prepare for calving.
Elk are easily recognizable as males have large antlers which extend 1–1.5 m in size. These nocturnal creatures are robust large animals standing approximately 1.5 metres high with slender legs.
Weighing up to 1,800 lbs and 3 m high (7’5”) tall moose is one of the largest animals in the Northern Rockies.
Two species of deer are found in the Northern Rockies; white-tailed deer and mule deer. The white-tailed deer has a white tail; the mule deer has long floppy ears, like a mule. Both are stunningly beautiful – if they stay still long enough to get a photo!
Wild stone sheep are one of the most majestic animals in BC. At approximately 1 metre tall and 90 lbs in weight, sheep can climb significantly steep grades and their switch back paths are easily recognized in many of the cliffs along the Alaska Highway.
Rarely seen, mountain goats mostly inhabit the backcountry of the Northern Rockies. Their beautiful white coats are striking against the backdrop of the high gray mountains and beautiful blue skies.
Seldom seen by the traveler, the northern timber wolves are built for stamina and are often on the move in the Northern Rockies. Wolf howls and pack communications are usually the only proof of their presence.
Sometimes seen on the side of the road, the coyote is typically smaller than a wolf, with longer ears, and a thinner frame, face, and muzzle. An adult Coyote is about the same size as a medium dog, weighing between 20-50 lbs.