Canmore Wildlife Viewing

Canmore wildlife viewing is a major attraction as wildlife is abundant, in the town and in the surrounding Bow Valley. For descriptions of all wildlife species present in Canmore and the Bow Valley, visit our Canmore Nature Guide.

Even though Canmore, Alberta, is a bustling town, the opportunities for viewing wildlife in and around residential areas are excellent. The valley floor provides a habitat for many larger mammals, including elk (most often sighted on the Canmore Golf Course and along the west side of the Bow River). Other larger mammals present include white-tailed deer, coyotes, and black bears, all of which are regularly sighted within town limits. Grizzly bears are less common within the town, but are often present around the edges of town, especially the wildlife corridors to the south and north of residential areas. Cougars are less common but reported sightings are most often reported on the north side of the highway in and above the Silvertip neighborhood. Would you like to see bighorn sheep? They are common on rocky outcrops above Spray Lakes Road as it leaves the Nordic Centre and east of town along the 1A near Gap Lake.

Birdlife around Canmore is prolific. Mallard ducks are a popular attraction on Policeman’s Creek in downtown Canmore. Several active osprey nests can be seen along the banks of the Bow River; other permanent avian residents include great horned owls, jays, and ravens.

Even if you’re not interested in photography, the Canadian Rockies Wildlife Photography eBook, by renowned wildlife photographer Wayne Lynch, is a great resource for searching out local wildlife, with many Canmore locations detailed.

Look for elk in open areas around the edges of Canmore.

Look for elk in open areas around the edges of Canmore.

Wildlife Safety in Canmore and the Bow Valley

An abundance of wildlife is one of the biggest draws of Canmore and the Bow Valley. To help preserve this precious resource, obey fishing and hunting regulations and use common sense.

DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. Many animals may seem tame, but feeding them endangers yourself, the animal, and other visitors, as animals become aggressive when looking for handouts (even the smallest critters, such as squirrels).

STORE FOOD SAFELY. When camping, keep food in your vehicle or out of reach of animals. Just leaving it in a cooler isn’t good enough.

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Although it’s tempting to get close to wildlife for a better look or a photograph, it disturbs the animal and, in many cases, can be dangerous.

DRIVE CAREFULLY. The most common cause of premature death for larger mammals is being hit by vehicles, especially along the Trans-Canada Highway, which is not fenced through Canmore.