The 5 Best National Parks for Spotting Wildlife

One of the most exciting parts of visiting a National Park is spotting wildlife in its native environment. By their very nature, all of the National Parks are excellent places to see wildlife. But, some are better than others. My criteria to choosing the best is as follows: a wide variety of wildlife, easy to find and view them, and the larger and more rare the animal the better.

5) Rocky Mountain National Park: #5 on the list is located in beautiful Colorado. Moose were not historically found in this area, but this National Park is the most likely place to see a moose now. Herds of Elk and Bighorn Sheep are commonly seen. You can also spot Black Bears, Cougars, Mule Deer and Marmots. Unfortunately, Bison, Grizzly Bears and Wolves are no longer found here or this park would be higher up the list.

The marmots here are super friendly.

4) Olympic National Park: Next on our list is Olympic National Park. This park has a wide variety of geography from Pacific Ocean coastline, glacier topped mountains and temperate rain forests. This means there is a wide variety of wildlife also. Some of the wildlife you can see in Olympic include Roosevelt Elk, Mountain Goats, Black Bears, Black-tailed Deer, Marmots, Sea Lions, Seals, and Whales. Bonus: natural aquariums in the tide pools along the coast.

Roosevelt Elk in the Hoh Rain Forest.

3) Katmai National Park: Have you seen those great videos of brown bears catching with their sharp teeth the salmon on their way upstream to spawn? Well, Katmai is the place to see that and puts this park squarely on the list at #3. Visit Brooks Camp in July and September to see the highest concentration of bears. Also seen in this National Park are Moose, Caribou, Whales, and Wolves among many other animals.

2) Glacier National Park: This National Park is just crawling with mega fauna. Hiking the gorgeous trails throughout North America’s Alps is the best way to see the ample wildlife. Some of the wildlife you can see includes Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Cougars, Elk, Deer, and Wolverines. The alpine meadows are also home to Ptarmigans in large numbers.

Ptarmigan in Glacier National Park.

1) Yellowstone National Park: Our first National Park is also first on this list. The wildlife in Yellowstone are everywhere. They are in the road, the fields, blocking your pictures. It’s almost impossible not to see dozens of animals everywhere you go. Some of the most commonly seen include Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Bison, Elk, Mule Deer, Moose and Wolves.

Bison in the road.

A Years Worth of National Park Wildlife

In the past year or so of blogging, Josh and I have been fortunate to see a lot of wildlife while visiting National Parks across the country. I thought I would share all of these in one place.

Frog in Death Valley NP

This friendly coyote tried to hitch a ride in Death Valley NP

Deer in Mammoth Cave NP

Turkey running afowl in Mammoth Cave NP

Postcard perfect Elk in Yellowstone NP

The blurry blob to the right of the letter E was an incredibly large porcupine

Bison in Yellowstone NP

This Roosevelt Elk in Olympic NP walked right down the trail towards me

Bighorn Sheep in Badlands NP

Bison in Waterton Lakes NP

This grizzly bear in Waterton Lakes NP was busy munching and never paid any attention to us

Deer in Great Sand Dunes NP

The Ptarmigan’s in Glacier NP were everywhere

This marmot posing in Grand Teton NP was our blog with the highest views all year

Black bear in Great Smoky Mountains NP

The jackrabbits in Joshua Tree NP were huge

This addax in Big Bend NP was making a huge racket

This deer was eating a banana peel by the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon NP

Tropical fish in Dry Tortugas NP

We didn’t get pictures of the moose in Rocky Mountain NP nor did we get a picture of an all too close encounter with a mountain lion in Joshua Tree NP.