While Banff and Jasper are chock-full of big glorious beasts to capture on your shiny, new digital slrs — grizzly bear, black bear, gray wolf, moose, elk, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat, to name a few — it’s also got all kinds of great little guys to chase down and fill your days with. Both parks are home to a dizzying array of smaller mammals, like the Columbian ground squirrel, golden-mantled ground squirrel, least chipmunk, red squirrel, hoary marmot (one of my personal favourites), and the ever-entrancing pika!
Watch for the squirrels and chipmunks at just about any roadside picnic area or pull-out year-round, while you’ll want to visit roadside rockpiles for pikas and alpine meadows for hoary marmots in the spring and summer.
My favourite place to combine all six of these smaller mammals I just mentioned is in a five kilometre area as you approach the north end of Highwood Pass on Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country. Good luck!