Glacier NP and Olympic NP
Does anybody have any tips on mammal watching in Glacier National Park? I know the park has some really good animals I would like to see – especially Grizzlys, which I’ve never seen. I read that Many Glacier Valley is a good place to see them.. But where? And at what times? Also on the top of the list is always a puma and either of the lynx species in the park. Black Bears would be a nice treat, but I have seen them before.. Obviously a wolverine would be awesome, and really, any carnivores besides raccoons, red foxes and coyotes. Another mammal I would like to see is a male moose.
Also, where should we stay? Rooms are running out fast.. I wanted to stay at Many Glacier lodge, but nothing available for our dates already.. So as of now I have a reservation at Glacier Park Lodge which is outside the park so I don’t know if it’s a good idea..
The other big national park we’re hitting is Olympic. Many of the similar species, but again, any help would be appreciated – especially on seeing the felines and the other carnivores.
I think you will find some good information on Jon’s OP page. Here is a link to some of my webpages that have info and images of the nature of the Olympics:
Both parks have a wealth of relatively easily seen mammal species. The OP has a couple endemics worth searching out – the Olympic Chipmunk and the Olympic Marmot – best seen in late summer. Obstruction Point road and trail should get you both species. Columbian black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, black bear are pretty easy to spot as well. Be sure to get to the Hoh Rainforest for the elk. Raccoons & coyotes are pretty easy to see as well. Raccoons roam around downtown Port Angeles and are very easy to see near Hollywood Beach.
Glacier has a lot of animals located near the main visitor’s center – Logan Pass Visitor’s center – you should be able to get Mountain Goats, Hoary Marmots, Richardson’s (or Columbia – can’t remember exactly) ground squirrels. I’ve seen grizzlies there a number of times too….
Here is an old page of mine:
As far as I understand the current thinking, it is still a subspecies of the YP Chipmunk – (Tamias amoenus caurinus). I vaguely recall some research showing that the molecular evidence may support breaking it in to a separate species but I cannot seem to recall where exactly I read that. Anyone???
From what I recall (I am at work on a mammal checklist for NA for interested people on the website), the olympic chipmunk is not supported as specifically distinct, but species status might be supported for one of the Washington forms as well as the Craters of the Moon form. There is still a lot of work to be done on this complex.
My cousin is a ranger there and I spend about 10 days a year there typically. The best place to see the bull moose is Kootenai Lake. You have to take the ferry from Canada and then hike a few miles. I saw 9 males at once last time I was there. You can also see them around Many Glacier.
Many Glacier is probably your best bet for Grizzlies, just spend time in that area and you should turn one up. You should see Black Bears as well.
Even Rangers and Trail Crew rarely see cats. My cousin has seen 1 Lynx in the last 4 years. His girlfriend has worked there for something like 7 years and has only seen 1 Mountain Lion, although we missed one by seconds last time I was there.
Wolverines show up more often. They typically see them once or twice a year. Usually off trail in high country. There last one was the day after I left.
Weasels are occasionally seen, I found a den with 11 young one year. It was right next to the trail going up from the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Marten, Otters, and Fisher are possible but unlikely.
Your typical mammals you should see with little problem will be Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Elk, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Colombian Groundsquirrel, Hoary Marmot, American Pika, Mule Deer, White-tail Deer, Red Fox, and Red-tailed Chipmunk.
I spend most of my time on the east side, I have been on the west side, but didn’t see a whole lot in the way of mammals.
I visited Glacier last August and saw several black bears. The grizzlies were abundant but I had bad luck, missing them by minutes on several occasions. We had planned to do the Iceberg Lake hike out of Many Glacie but it was closed due to grizzly activity. We ended up doing the Grinnell Lake hike which was gorgeous, thought flat and relatively easy. Again I passed people on the trail who had seen both moose and grizzly but I only saw deer, marmot, and an owl in the forested part. The hike to Hidden Lake provided one of my favorite all time scenes with 8-10 mountain goars who are not shy at all. The parking lot at Logan Pass can be a nightmare during the peak season. Either get up early or take the shuttle. It took us more than 30 minutes of circling just to find a spot. I tried without success to look for wolves on the western side of the park but the vegetation is much thicker. There was a portion of the road to Polebridge where hiking was prohibited due to a wolf den near the road.
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I don’t know much about the mammals you mention, but there is a salt lick that is good for Mountain Goats there. I can’t remember the details but google will turn them up. You might find Red-tailed Chipmunks, which have a very limited range.
Jon’s page on Washington has some trip reports including Olympic NP.