When out on the trails, if the normal and mundane don’t cut it, head to these trails where nature runs wild. From bears to mountain goats, these scenic trails feature up-close encounters with the nature’s best wildlife.
North Cascades, Washington
Head to the North Cascades where mountain goats roam freely amidst the jagged peaks. These white, furry creatures are fascinating to view in person and hikers can get relatively close. However, goats, like any other animal, can be dangerous. Goats are most commonly found at the Sahale glacier camp and surrounding trails.
Yellowstone National Park
Bears are found throughout the park, even near camping grounds. However, trails near the park’s rivers are typically home to hungry fish-eating bears. Natural Bridge Trail is popular with bears hunting trout in Bridge Creek; although, the trail is often closed in late spring and early summer due to the quantity of bears heading to the river.
Banff National Park, Canada
The Canadian Rockies are home to animals such as moose, elk, caribou, wolves, rams, bears and birds. Banff’s wildlife playground is also a fun factory for wildlife viewers. Fenland Trail is a short walk for those who want to view elk whereas the Minnewanka Loop homes fierce predators such as wolves, bighorn sheep and coyotes. Lake Louise is a popular breeding area for bears, but not to worry, the park has electric fence to keep bears out of the nearby campgrounds.
Katmai National Park, Alaska
Katmai is a picture-perfect destination for those who want to photograph grizzly bears. Brooks Falls is the most popular region to watch the bears, but visitors may have to register with an organized group to reach the falls. Bears in Katmai thrive off the salmon run and is the number one “beware” sign for visitors in the park. The region has over four million acres of wilderness, but only two identified hiking trails; therefore, backcountry outings are popular for those with the skills necessary.
Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, California
Modoc is home to one of the best collections of migratory birds in North America. This area has recorded up to 245 species of birds, including up to 500 bald eagles swarming throughout the skies. The loop trail leads around a swampland and marsh with sightings of raptors, tailed hawks, cranes and waterfowls.