ALBERTA—Canada—Taking a golf vacation in the Canadian Rockies means more than just golfing scenic courses. Golfers here also have the chance to view wildlife, without ever leaving the green. “All golf courses in the Canadian Rockies have the ability to see wildlife,” says Chris Smith, Sales and Operations Manager of Golf Canada’s West, a company that specializes in golf vacations in Alberta and British Columbia. And although no one can guarantee a sighting, “it’s not uncommon to see bears, elk, deer, coyotes and even cougars here,” says Smith.
Smith recommends golfers bring along a camera and keep an eye on the sky. “There’s just as much wildlife flying around in the sky as there is walking on the ground,” he says. Worried wildlife might interfere with your game? “If a squirrel takes your ball, there isn’t a stroke penalty.”
So, grab your clubs, bring your binoculars and don’t forget your camera. We’ve combed the contenders and narrowed down our list to the three best golf courses for viewing wildlife in the Canadian Rockies.
Located in scenic Jasper National Park, the fairways at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge are carved from thick mountain forest. Snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes are the backdrop for this course, which runs through a wildlife corridor featuring caribou, elk, bears and wolves. Golfers who rise with the sun are rewarded with the sounds of loons calling from nearby Beauvert Lake.
Nestled among boreal forest in the Kananaskis Valley, Kananaskis Country Golf course affords golfers a scenic game with ample wildlife viewing opportunities. Kananaskis is comprised of two 18-hole championship courses, Mount Lorette and Mount Kidd, named for the soaring limestone peaks that serve as their backdrop. Head to Mt. Kidd’s fourth hole, where grizzly bears have been seen wading across the Kananaskis River and peacefully wandering on the right side of the hole.
Standing at the edge of an untouched wilderness reserve only 20 minutes from Banff National Park, Silvertip covers 600 acres of peaks, valleys and grasslands on the benchlands of Mount Lady MacDonald. Certified as an “Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary,” this course borders two wildlife corridors. Guests here are regularly rewarded with viewing native Canadian Rockies wildlife, such as coyotes, elk, deer, fox, black bears and grizzly bears.
Looking for more of the best things to do on your Canadian Rockies vacation?
Don’t pack up your golf clubs as soon as you’re finished on the fairway. There’s plenty more to do during your stay in the Canadian Rockies. Visit Banff National Park or Jasper National Park, raft the Kicking Horse River, or feel the rush on a zipline tour. For more activities in the Canadian Rockies, check out Banff Travel or Jasper Vacations.