Top Ten National Parks for Wildlife Viewing

Glacier National Park, Montana
By Nicole Daro

Best for: Grizzlies, mountain goats, elk, and deer.

Unless you're ready to get up close and personal with one or more of the resident grizzlies, don't come to Glacier National Park. And though they're not as likely, be prepared for encounters with wolves, mountain lions, and mountain goats.

For the most wildlife encounters, do something that most visitors to Glacier don't: Get out of the car and take a hike! More than 730 miles of hiking trails offer up tons of opportunities to see animals in the wild. Paddling the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead brings you into the heart of the wilderness and offers some unique wildlife-viewing experiences. The Middle Fork is one of the few rivers where you're likely to see mountain goats from the water.

The Goat Lick Overlook is a great spot to see natural selection at work. Mountain goats, elk, and deer are attracted to the mineral-laden riverbank here, and come from far and wide to indulge their palates. Aggressive behavior often ensues, with goats competing for the best spots among these steep and rocky cliffs. You may catch them rushing and butting one another; sometimes the battles get so heated that goats are knocked down the cliff into the river below!


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