seeing wolves

Hi all

Having dipped wolves in Spain earlier this year, I’m pondering another attempt, before too long. The question is where? Any suggestions? Preferably Europe, but I wouldn’t rule out elsewhere. 

I think Yellowstone is fairly reliable, but I’d rather go somewhere where they aren’t recent re-introductions.

Any thoughts much appreciated.







  • Jon Hall

    HI Steve, Estonia could be worth a try and there are some other nice things there too including Lynx, European Flying Squirrel and maybe a European Mink. Bialoweisa too in Poland has them and I’d have thought you might see them in the winter there with some effort (though I have never tried). Further afield for you I saw them first in Jordan but they were kind of skinny and disappointing looking there. One easy place to see them is Velavadar NP in Gujurat – also a great place for Striped Hyena. jon

  • mattinidaho

    The Yellowstone wolves have been there since 1995, and have already dramatically reshaped the ecosystem-. The elk don’t wallow in streams any more, there is more aspen, more beaver, more trout, etc–all due to the return of the apex predator. All of which makes it a great place to see wolves in my opinion–it’s a place where they are playing their full ecological role.

  • Alan

    I will echo what Matt said about Yellowstone. Although they are no longer a guaranteed sighting in the Lamar Valley like they used to be when there was over 200 in the park. I think there are around 90 now. Winter time is still the best time to see wolves but you have to brave the conditions. Otherwise I would try the shoulder seasons April/May and Sept/Oct when the die-hard wolf watchers are out in force. We only saw 2 wolves on our week long trip this past June but one of them was really close which made up for it.

  • vdinets

    Denali National Park rangers say you have about 10% chance of seeing a wolf on any given day. (I’ve been there for a total of 6 days and never saw one.)

  • Frans De Schamphelaere


    I think indeed Bialowieza might give you some of the best chances (forests north of Teremiski and Budy are good areas as well as around ¨Przewloka against the border with Belarus). Another place in Poland is Biebrza (region of the Red Marsh).

    We were lucky to see two Wolves in Croatia in July (trip report coming up), it was in Risnjak NP and the rangers were well aware of their presence (Bear and Lynx are possible as well).

    Estonia at the moment seems to have a problem with (partly illegal) shooting of wolves so that might be difficult although around Matsalu NP, due to the system of quota, none were shot last winter (since the quota were reached early in the Pärnu region and these were coupled to those of Laanemaa). You could try the forest roads around the marshes of Tuhu or visit the border region with Russia which still holds some of the healthier populations of wolf as well as lynx and bear. This could well (Estonia’s rather small) be combined with a visit to Kemeru NP in Latvia where wolves are present and the park staff usually knows about their whereabouts.

    Romania has the highest populations and they can be found everywhere in the mountains although in summer you would have to be quite lucky since they are in the higher parts. In winter some of the more open and desolate valleys (e.g. around Zarnesti) are very attractive though…

    Or a more expensive option: a bear/wolf/wolverine hide in Finland…

    They’re doing rather well in Europe so you could try in many places (Abruzzo NP in Italy, Belarus, Galicia NP in Macedonia, …: probably overlooked in these areas).

    Good luck!

  • stevebabbs

    Thanks for the replies. I’m coming round to the Yellowstone idea. Although, unfortunately, it’d have to be late July or August.

    • Alan

      Steve, if that’s the time of year for your trip, you might want to think twice about Yellowstone. The crowds of tourists are brutal. Most of the serious wolf watchers leave during the summer. In part because of the crowds but also because the warm weather forces the animals up into higher elevations and where the prey goes…so go the wolves. The wolf research team is still out most mornings but I think this is the worst time of year for sightings.

      Here is a link to the latest wolf update from the spring. A summer one should be posted soon which would provide the most up to date information on summer wolf watching.

      Hopefully, this information can help you make a final decision.

  • stevebabbs

    Thanks for the advice Alan. I’m not big on crowds, but it’s either visit Yellowstone at peak time or never visit.

  • mattinidaho

    I have done numerous trips to Yellowstone in July, including over the July 4th holiday weekend. My wife and I take young relatives to Yellowstone for their high school graduation gift, and they have often wanted to come in July.

    Yes, there can be crowds but I have always found them relatively easy to escape (just walk a bit). Also, I’ve always taken it philosophically: it is fantastic to see so many people enthusiastic about wildlife and to have a national park system that is so accessible to the masses. I know that won’t mean much to many dedicated wildlife and wilderness lovers, but as a wildlife conservationist, that’s how I see it.

    A few years ago, over the 4th of July weekend, we had one of my wife’s young cousins with us and had fantastic wolf viewing. A wolf strolled by us while having a picnic in the Lamar Valley–there were 3 other dedicated wolf watchers nearby but hardly a crowd. Then on a full moon night we had 3 wolves standing right by the road, not another vehicle in sight. My closest wolf sighting ever. On that trip, we also had a grizzly bear on a backroad in Grand Teton National Park–very, very close and no vehicle anywhere in sight.

    In fact, we’ve always had great wildlife sightings no matter when we visit. You just need to know where to go and be patient that there will be a lot of vehicles on the road.

  • Richard Webb

    Steve, Denali is good in late August-early October and has the advantage that there are fewer tourists in the park. I scored on two consecutive days at the start of September also seeing Lynx three days running as there was a snowshoe irruption at the time. By taking the last shuttle bus of the day you increase your chances and will probably have the bus to yourself. I had great views down to a few feet and saw a pack with young two days running. It’s a great time of year as well for Belugas south of Anchorage.


  • Jan Kelchtermans

    Prime area for wolves in summer is without doubt Spain. 100% sure these days in Picos de Europa area. Was there myself with a TV crew. Both visits we saw a pack with cubs without any difficulties. Regards Jan

Leave a Reply