Wildlife Travel

Which United States National Parks are the Best for Wildlife Watching?

United States National Parks
Written by Jane Sophia

I know there are as many as 58 national parks in the United States but I believe not all of them are vantage places for wildlife watching.

Sure, you can spot birds in any national park that has green spaces but to watch wildlife exclusively, there must be only a few United States National Parks.

I like to watch the real forest animals, untamed and ‘Uncaged’ in their original habitat in the United States and not in Africa or anywhere in the world. My sensitive stomach can’t accept non-American food. Hey buddy, no offense intended for other cuisines in the world.

Like any other vast areas in the world that are declared and protected as national parks, the United States National Parks too comprise dark jungles, evergreen rainforests, high-altitude mountains, waterholes, and deserts.

The advantage of United States National Parks is they are not too far off from civilization. You are always near a town or a city, or even a village that doesn’t lack any comforts and communication technologies. In addition, all the United States National Parks are easily accessible by all modes of transportation.

The range of wildlife that can be seen in United States National Parks is as wide as the game parks of African nations.

You can scream in delight when you spot dangerous hyenas, the majestic golden eagles, the friendly dolphins, bison, and rabbits in United States National Parks.

10 Best United States National Parks  for  Wildlife Watching

Let us know some of the excellent United States National Parks that are ideal for watching wildlife including marine life.

1. One of the Best  United States National Parks  for  Wildlife Spotting: Yellowstone National Park

Tourists are eager to go to spot the famous American Bison in Yellow Stone National Park that is accessible from the states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana (my favorite state for natural beauty).

American Bison

The number of wild animals in Yellow Stone National Park is considerable and hence and earned an apt name “Megafauna habitat.

Yellow Stone National Park is the first national park in the U.S. and in the world also.

Other wildlife you see in Yellow Stone National Park that spreads over 9000 sq.km:

  • Canadian Linx

Canadian Linx in United States National Parks

  • Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear in United States National Parks

  • Timber Wolf
  • Cougar
  • Black Bear

Black Bear

  • Elk
  • Muse

Muse in United States National Parks

What a beast!

  • Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat United States National Parks

  • Prairie Dogs

Prairie Dogs

  • Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep in United States National Parks

  • Porcupine
  • Red Fox
  • Sandhill Crane

Yes, this is not a dog species but a rodent!

Yellow Stone National Park is not only a great place to watch wildlife, mate! There are too many attractions to see there. You require a full week to stay at the peripherals of the premises to see all the wildlife and other attractions.

2. Most Fascinating United States National Parks: Custer State Park, South Dakota

Just a few hours before only, I came across the name of this state park in the U, S. where you can spot several baby bison that arrives in the world during April and May every year.

baby bison in United States National Parks

Most of the wild animals that are spotted in Yellow Stone National Park can be seen in Custer State Park also. This includes bighorn sheep, pronghorns,  coyotes, elk, and mountain goats.

However, the star attraction is the herd of American Bison with their newborn calf tagging them along without any curiosity.

You won’t regret if you choose to stay in one of the several forest lodges and cottages in the 71k acres of Custer State Park, South Dakota, U.S.

3. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, United States

This charming 70,000 plus acres of national park is home to a big range of (180 species) avifauna apart from the usual wild animals that include feral horses (wild horses) bison, prairie dogs and elk.

The major wildlife attraction in this American National Park is the birds some of which that can be spotted only by veteran bird watchers and professional ornithologists.

How about this short list of beautiful birds of Theodore Roosevelt National Park?

  • Black-capped Chickadees
  • Golden Eagle
  • Bald Eagle (America’s national bird)

Bald Eagle

  • Great-horned owls
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Flycatchers
  • Swallows
  • Snow Geese
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse

Sharp-tailed Grouse

  • White Pelican
  • Cormorants
  • Blue Heron
  • Wood Duck (they are very beautiful)
  • Northern Pintail
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Hawks and Falcons

4. Best United States National Parks for Wildlife Watching: Denali National Park, Alaska, U.S.

Few article writers are rich enough to describe the natural beauties of Denali National Park located in Alaska, United States.

United States National Parks-Denali National Park

The whole area of 6 million acres is full of giant glaciers, gorgeous forests and huge mountains that house the Denali Park, the highest peak in North America. It is situated at an elevation of 20,000 feet.

Wildlife of Denali National Park, Alaska, United States:

  • Grizzly Bears
  • Dall Sheep (Bighorn Sheep)
  • Muse
  • Wolves
  • Reindeer (Caribou)

Reindeer

  • Pikas
  • Beavers
  • Marmots
  • American Marten

American Marten

  • Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak

  • Arctic Warbler

Arctic Warbler

  • Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcon

So, in Denali National Park, you can spot some hitherto unseen birds and mammals-eh? In addition, the glaciers and lakes would make you make one more trip to Alaska.

5. Channel Islands National Park, California

This American National Park is for those who are thrilled to see exotic marine life.

Channel Islands National Park

A total of eight islands form the Channel Islands archipelago. Known for the extraordinary natural beauty and marine life, the Channel Islands have got a prestigious nickname “Galapagos of North America”.

All these islands are located in the Pacific Ocean along the Santa Barbara Channel, southern California.

The popular Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is spread over five of the eight islands.

The biggest wildlife attraction in Channel Islands National Park is the ‘elephant seal.

elephant seal

Hmm… the word ‘elephant’ is fitting to this marine mammal.

Wildlife and marine life that you can see in Channel Islands National Park and Marine Life Sanctuary:

  • Island Fox

Island Fox

  • Several species of whales including the Blue Whale
  • Sea Lions

Sea Lions

  • Santa Cruz sheep
  • San Clemente Island goat
  • Sea Gulls
  • Pigeon Guillemot

Pigeon Guillemot

6. Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.

Of all the states of America, Montana is the best when it comes to natural beauty. It is no wonder the Glacier National Park in Montana is large comprising a whopping one million acres.

The diverse landscape of this national park includes:

  • Glaciers
  • Mountains
  • Verdant Meadows
  • Lakes
  • Valleys and gorges
  • Lovely, dark forests

Wildlife in Glacier National Park, Montana

Mammals account for 60+ out of which 14 are large and 50+ are small mammals.

Well, there is no new animal that you can see in Glacier National Park in Montana; you have seen them all in other national parks of America.

  • American bison
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Grizzly bear
  • Canadian Lynx
  • Elk
  • Moose
  • Raccoons
  • Weasel
  • Beaver
  • Shrew
  • Mountain goat

Birds that you can spot in Glacier National Park, Montana:

I read 260 species of avifauna are recorded in Glacier National Park, Montana. That’s a healthy wildlife habitat in this American national park.

  • Western meadowlark

Western meadowlark

It is a beautiful bird.

  • Canada Goose
  • Ross’s Goose

Ross’s Goose

  • Wood Duck

Wood Duck

Terrific bird!

  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • A range of Partridges
  • Loons
  • Grebes
  • Cormorants
  • Pelicans
  • Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

There are many more species of avifauna that can be spotted in Montana if you have the patience. Overall, Glacier National Park in the U.S. is just too good a place to spend time watching wildlife and hiking the snow-clad mountains.

7. Olympic National Park, Washington, U.S.

Olympic National Park is located in the State of  Washington, United States. It comprises a vast area of over 3700sq.km! Such a big means this U.S. national park must be sporting more than one eco-system.

United States National Parks-Olympic National Park

The Olympic National Park’s landscape is also diverse such as coastal area, alpine mountains, and rainforests.

Wildlife of Olympic National Park, Washington

  • Skunk

Skunk

  • Muskrat

Muskrat

  • Several species of bats
  • Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt Elk in United States National Parks

A powerful beast!

  • Shrew
  • Whales and dolphins
  • Sea Lions
  • Black bears
  • Moles

Moles

Birds that can be seen in Olympic National Park, Washington:

  • Western Tanager

Western Tanager in United States National Parks

  • Warblers
  • Chickadees
  • Winter Wrens

Winter Wrens

Ah, so cute!

  • Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins in United States National Parks

In addition to the great range of wildlife spotting, one can stay in any of the camping sites and enjoy long walk hiking through popular and scenic trails.

8. The first of the United States National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is shared by two states of America, namely Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the highly frequented holiday destinations in North America. The verdant mountains filled with mist, great trails of forest through which exists several picturesque walking trails including the famous Appalachian Trail.

The total length of hiking trails in the Smokey Mountains is about 1300 km.

Appalachian Trail

Spring is the most ideal season to go to this United States national park because there will be a plethora of wildflowers lighting up the mountains.

If you are a passionate bird watcher, you can spot a big range of birds when you stay patiently by the side of rivers and mountain streams.

  • Pheasants
  • Ducks and Geese
  • Swifts
  • Herons
  • Egrets
  • Icterids
  • Wagtails
  • Finches
  • Larks

The number of avifauna species in this American national park exceeds 200.

Wildlife in this U.S. national park:

  • Black bear
  • Grizzly bear

9. Saguaro National Park, Arizona

United States National Parks Saguaro National Park

What you see above is the image of Saguaro Cactus after which this U.S. national park is named.

The unique wildlife that you can see in Saguarao National Park is ‘Javelina’.

Javelina in United States National Parks

This Arizona national park occupies a mammoth 91, 000 acre. Such a large area even though the majority of which is in situated in the hot desert is home to a wide range of birds and animals such as:

  • Grey Fox
  • Kangaroo rats
  • Coyotes
  • Roadrunners
  • Horned Lizards
  • Desert Tortoise
  • Iguana
  • Quail
  • Hummingbird
  • Cactus Wrens

Cactus Wrens in United States National Parks

10. Everglades National Park, Florida, U.S.

The most sought after bird to see by birders is the Flamingo. You can spot flocks of the beautiful red/pink-colored and long-legged migratory birds

If a particular place attracts flamingoes, then you can be sure of spotting more water-birds that include:

  • Egret
  • Ibis
  • Stark
  • Heron

Every year, about a million tourists visit the Everglades National Park, Florida.

The mammals and amphibians that live in this American national park include:

  • Manatee (sea cow)
  • Alligators

Though Google has listed only 10 United States National Parks that are great for wildlife watching, I believe the rest of United States National Parks cannot lag behind as good habitats for birds and animals.

 

About the author

Jane Sophia

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