Explore your wild side in Banff
Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, just a 90-minute drive west from the lively city of Calgary, is the town of Banff. Banff is well known for its breathtaking beauty, however having recently become a Banff resident myself, what took MY breath away was the large numbers of wildlife casually roaming the streets around town – in Australia it isn’t all that often that you share the footpath with an elk when you’re walking home from your evening grocery shopping run. It is true that unlike many other holiday destinations, Banff offers the unique experience of truly becoming closer to nature, of co-existing with wild (but curious) animals in their own habitat.
Here at the Douglas Fir Resort, located on the scenic and serene Tunnel Mountain, we have become quite used to animal sightings. It is not uncommon to wait for the Roam bus with an unperturbed deer, or to wake up to an elk or two wandering outside your chalet, peacefully foraging for food. However, as normal as it has become, sharing day-to-day life with these beautiful creatures never seems to get old!
Whether you’re a lover of animals with two or four legs, mammals or amphibians, there will be something for everyone. Indeed, red squirrels, chipmunks, wolverines, shrews and bats are just a few of the species found in the park. Fans of creepy crawlies, meanwhile, may wish to take to the woods and search for mountain pine beetles.
Both grizzly and black bears inhabit Banff and can be seen travelling along and crossing roads in their search for food. Coyotes, elks and big cats - in the shape of cougars and Canadian lynx - are also in abundance. And with the park home to a number of endangered and threatened species, it could offer people perhaps their only chance to see woodland caribou, the Banff spring snail and the Canada warbler.
The best times of year to visit Banff if you’re looking for wildlife are in early spring (April – May) or in fall (September – October).
*Above is the traffic my partner often encounters on his commute to work. Talk about a traffic jam!