Wildlife of the Alaska Highway

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If seeing wildlife is an important part of your Alaska Highway journey, the best thing you can do is plan to see wildlife!

Take time to learn about the animals, watch carefully and attentively for them and you’ll see them!


Start with safety as you plan your wildlife viewing. Read up on the animals, their habitats and their habits. This knowledge will help ensure your safety while simultaneously increasing your enjoyment. In addition to learning whatever you can from books, follow these rules:

  1. Wherever you are, stay well clear of large mammals such as bison, elk, moose and bears. If they are startled, feel cornered, are near a kill or protecting young, they can charge you and the results will not be pleasant;
  2. To view animals at the roadside, stay in your vehicle;
  3. Keep your children under supervision at all times;
  4. Do not feed the animals.

The regions surrounding the Alaska Highway have been called a “haven” for wildlife because there aren’t that many people here. As a result, there are more large mammals in the wilds of Northern BC, the Yukon and Alaska than anywhere else in North America. And globally speaking, this is a vast and relatively pure wilderness area with an abundance of wildlife. Check out the list below

Viewing tips

  1. Be quiet
  2. Move slowly
  3. Stop often
  4. Stay alert for motion
  5. Go viewing in the mornings and evenings
  6. Try viewing before breakfast or after dinner
  7. Remember, the Arctic evening lasts all night
  8. Keep your distance if you see wildlife
  9. Use binoculars or spotting scopes
  10. Photograph wildlife from a distance, with a telephoto lens

Most popular animals for viewing

  • Bear (Black) – 220-330 lbs, 21-33-year life span
  • Bear (Grizzly) – Females: 300-450 lbs; Males: 300-1,000 lbs
  • Caribou (Woodland) – 5,000 km journey/year
  • Elk – 1-1.5 M tall, with antlers just as wide
  • Moose – Up to 1,800 lbs and 3M (7’5” tall)
  • Mountain Goat – Shy, with bright, white coats
  • Mule Deer – Usually too fast for photographers
  • Wolf – Often on the move, built for stamina
  • Wood Bison – 2,000 lbs, right-of-way on Alaska Highway

Other animals

  • Arctic Ground Squirrel
  • Beaver
  • Canada Lynx
  • Coyote
  • Dall Sheep
  • Fox (Arctic)
  • Muskoxen
  • Pine Martin
  • Porcupine
  • Snowshoe Hare
  • Wolverine


  • Canada Goose
  • Golden Eagle
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Osprey
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Ptarmigan
  • Raven
  • Snowy Owl
  • Swallow
  • Trumpeter Swan

Photo Credit:
Ryan Dickie – Winter Hawk Images
Chris Gale – Wild North Photos