Wildlife Found at the Kicking Horse River – Alberta, Canada

Butterflies float over the Kicking Horse River - Alberta, Canada

MIKE PHILLIPS
Banff Rafting Association

ALBERTA, Canada – Whether you are on a gentle scenic float or taking on the challenge of higher class rapids, there are numerous opportunities to view the interesting wildlife along the banks of the Kicking Horse River. Black bears, elk, butterflies, bighorn mountain sheep and mountain goat are some of the animals that populate this region of Alberta, Canada.

Banff has a robust elk population numbering in the thousands. The Vermilion Lakes Drive, the Buffalo Paddock, the Banff Springs golf course and the Bow Valley Parkway are all excellent venues for seeing and photographing elk, and the town of Banff itself is frequented by elk intent on eating the greenery in local yards and escaping the predators they would face anywhere else in the park. Elk will also congregate along the banks of the Kicking Horse River.

Moose are on the decline, due in part to a deadly liver fluke, the return of wolves after a long absence, and an unnaturally high number of deaths on the railways and highways. However, you still have a good chance of spotting a moose along the Kicking Horse River.

Bighorn sheep are abundant throughout the area, and are most commonly seen along the Bow Valley Parkway at Backswamp, on the Mount Norquay and Lake Minnewanka roads, and at the top of the gondola ride on Sulphur Mountain.

Banff has a healthy population of mountain goats, but has very few good places to view them from roads or short trails. Watch for them high on the cliffs above the Kicking Horse River.

“Keep your eyes open and look up at the river banks and the cliff edges,” said John Arbol, expert whitewater rafting guide at the Kicking Horse River. “It’s always a treat to see one of Canada’s spectacular specimens of wildlife in their natural habitat.”


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[ • categorized under Raft Banff / Kicking Horse ]