The 3 Most Fantastic Beasts of Glacier National Park
And Where You Might Find Them…
Glacier National Park is home to over 71 species of mammals, 276 species of birds, dozens of fishes, amphibians, thousands of species of insects, and even reptiles! Most species are uniquely adapted to the high alpine and cold habitats of Glacier National Park. Whether your hiking, driving, or rafting along with us, keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the right areas! Below are three we get asked about most.
Glacier Park’s Elusive Wolves
How to See A Wolf in Glacier National Park:
Seen individually, in pairs, or in packs, these misunderstood predators roam many places within and around the park. They don’t have set territories within the park, and come and go from the area as they follow the elk herds seasonally. Seen commonly near lower McDonald Lake area, Apgar, the North Fork area, and neighboring National Forest Service lands. Sometimes in winter, we can hear them howling at the moon. Rather than try to see a wolf, spend your time trying to see Elk… you might get lucky and spot a pack following them.
Glacier Park’s Solitary Wolverines
How to See A Wolverine in Glacier National Park:
Seen commonly near the alpine or rocky landscapes. These members of the weasel family can cover some ground! If you spot one count yourself incredibly lucky. Some of us have been exploring Glacier Park for decades and have never seen one.
You may be able to see a Wolverine in the forests and valley bottoms as they cross from one set of mountains to another. They’re incredibly solitary though and go out of their way to avoid humans; although, they are also known to sometimes travel in family groups or mating pairs. We’ve also often heard of folks seeing them at Logan Pass or along the Siyeh trail.
GNP supports the largest core population of wolverines in the lower 48 (approx. 50 individuals).
Glacier Park’s Mighty Grizzly Bears
How to See A Grizzly Bear Glacier National Park:
Glacier is home to a healthy population of these majestic and powerful animals. Well studied by scientists. They favor many habitats, from dense forests to open meadows and go where their food sources are available. In the summer, you can often see them in high mountain meadows digging up grubs, roots, and gorging on huckleberries. In the fall, you can see them near the rivers for the fall spawning of trout species. You can see a Grizzly Bear in most areas of the Park, but Many Glacier is often the most common valley to see one.
Other charismatic species to consider:
On your next Glacier Park Rafting trip be sure to ask your guide for their stories of wolves, wolverines, and bears. They might just tell you the secrets on where to find Glacier National Park’s most fantastic beasts. Here are a few more interesting Glacier Park critters, some rarer than others:
- Bull Trout, currently listed as vulnerable. If you catch a Bull Trout, please release it.
- Mountain Goats – Often seen in herds or small groups. Areas like Logan Pass are an almost guaranteed place to spot them.
- American Dippers – Look for them in calm waters having a bath and bouncing around.
- Osprey – Watch the skies for these amazing avians soaring over you. We often see them on our raft trips. They sometimes dive into the river to go after a fish.
- Lynx – This member of the cat family might even be harder to see than a wolverine. Watch the trees as you hike Glacier’s forest. They often have a favorite they hang out in.
Images used in this entry were obtained from Wikimedia, and are the works of National Park Employees