North America is blessed with a vast and diverse range of national parks that offer unparalleled opportunities for wildlife spotting. From rugged mountains and ancient forests to sprawling grasslands and pristine coastlines, these protected areas provide habitats for a remarkable array of animal species.
Best national parks in North America for wildlife
1. Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone National Park is an iconic destination renowned for its exceptional wildlife and geothermal wonders. As the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone boasts an extraordinary range of animals, including the famous American bison, grizzly bears, wolves, elk, and moose. The Lamar Valley is often referred to as the “Serengeti of North America” due to its abundance of wildlife. Visitors can also witness the impressive Yellowstone wolf packs and marvel at the park’s geothermal features, such as the famous Old Faithful geyser.
2. Denali National Park – Alaska
Denali National Park, located in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, offers a unique and rugged wildlife experience. At its centerpiece stands Denali, North America’s tallest peak, providing a dramatic backdrop for wildlife viewing. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and golden eagles. Visitors can embark on guided bus tours or hike through the wilderness to catch glimpses of these majestic creatures roaming freely in their natural habitat.
3. Glacier National Park – Montana
Known as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park in Montana is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Its pristine alpine meadows, towering mountains, and glacier-carved valleys provide habitats for a wide range of species. Visitors can spot grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, lynx, and wolverines. The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 260 species recorded, including the majestic bald eagle and the rare harlequin duck.
4. Everglades National Park – Florida
The Everglades National Park in Florida is a unique and captivating ecosystem renowned for its abundant wildlife. This subtropical wilderness is home to the elusive Florida panther, the endangered West Indian manatee, and the American alligator. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse habitats, including marshes, mangroves, and sawgrass prairies, by boat or on foot. Guided tours provide opportunities to spot wildlife, such as herons, egrets, turtles, and a variety of fish species.
5. Banff National Park – Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies, is not only known for its stunning landscapes but also for its incredible wildlife sightings. The park is home to grizzly bears, black bears, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and wolves. The picturesque Lake Louise area is particularly famous for its wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors can enjoy guided wildlife tours, go hiking on the park’s extensive trail system, or take a scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway while keeping an eye out for wildlife encounters.
6. Olympic National Park – Washington
Olympic National Park in Washington state offers a diverse range of ecosystems, including temperate rainforests, rugged coastlines, and snow-capped mountains. This ecological diversity provides a home for a wide variety of wildlife species. Visitors to Olympic National Park can encounter Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, black bears, bald eagles, gray wolves, and Pacific salmon.