Travel advice for south central Alberta

I am planning a 10-day trip to Alberta in September. We will be spending half our time in the Rockies and half in the plains. In the plains, we will be based in Drumheller, AB and possibly a second location closer to Lethbridge, AB.

It’s easy to find information where to spot mammals in the mountains but nothing about the plains. Does anyone know where, within 3 hours East of Calgary, I can easily see the following animals?   


Thanks. Leslie




  • markhowsMark Hows

    Hi Leslie,

    I have visited the area once about 8 years ago so cannot remember exact sites.
    I found pronghorn in the plains area just east of Calgary, there were ground squirrels here as well but I don’t think prairie dogs are that far north.

    For Bison I saw some in Waterton lakes national park near the US border about 3 hours south.

    But someone more local will have some better information.


  • vdinets

    Can you cross the border? If yes, your best bet for pronghorn, p-dog and sage grouse would probably be Blackfeet Reservation just across the border in Montana. It is also really good for swift fox, porcupine and various small mammals. I don’t know if they have bison, but you can email the tribal council and ask. All bison in southern Alberta are in fenced-off herds; you can see both Plains and wood bison in Elk Island National Park near Edmonton. It also has Central Canadian elk (a slightly different subspecies from Rocky Mountains elk in Banff and Jasper), Richardson’s ground squirrel and northern pocket gopher. Franklin’s ground sq. was common around Beaverhill Lake a few years ago.

  • heavenlyjane

    Thanks for all these quick responses. We want to avoid Waterton/Glacier area because that is a logical second trip for us. Bison aren’t as important as the other critters on our list because I used to live in Oklahoma where we had ample opportunity to see free-ranging bison at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

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