Top 10 National Parks for Wildlife Watching

There are 62 National Parks of the 419 units in the National Park Service (NPS) system and they are among the best places to watch wildlife.  As with all of our Top 10 lists, this is a ranking of our favorite parks and not necessarily a true reflection of biodiversity or the likelihood of spotting the animals listed.  Note: brown bears and grizzly bears are the same species, so we stuck with the Alaskan name.  We have published a travel guidebook to the 62 parks with much more information about where to go to see wildlife (available on Amazon).

10. Theodore Roosevelt (North Dakota)

Bison, elk, pronghorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer, prairie dogs, wild horses, prairie rattlesnakes

9. Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Sea turtles, stingrays, barracudas, parrotfish, iguanas (introduced), frigatebirds, bananaquits, pelicans

8. Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

Elk, moose, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer, mule deer, black bears, yellow-bellied marmots, pikas

7. Glacier (Montana)

Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, mule deer, brown bears, black bears, lynx, yellow-bellied marmots, pikas

6. Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee-North Carolina)

Elk, white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, turkeys, salamanders, synchronous fireflies

5. Denali (Alaska)

Caribou, moose, Dall sheep, brown bears, black bears, gray wolves, beavers, hoary marmots

4. Badlands (South Dakota)

Bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets

3 (tie). Kenai Fjords/Glacier Bay (Alaska)

Sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, whales, porpoises, moose, mountain goats, brown bears, black bears, bald eagles

2. Everglades (Florida)

Alligators, crocodiles, dolphins, barred owls, anhingas, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, ospreys, pelicans

…and finally our #1 National Park for watching wildlife:

1. Yellowstone (Wyoming-Montana-Idaho)

Bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, brown bears, black bears, mountain lions, gray wolves

Honorable Mentions

Voyageurs (Minnesota)

River otters, beavers, moose, white-tailed deer, black bears, gray wolves, lynx, bald eagles, loons

Channel Islands (California)

Sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, whales, dolphins, anemones, sea urchins, starfish, sea gulls, pelicans

Dry Tortugas (Florida)

Sea turtles, parrotfish, groupers, tarpons, sharks, crocodiles, frigatebirds, noddies, boobies, terns, pelicans

Find more great photos and ideas about where to watch wildlife in our guidebook to National Parks (available on Amazon).

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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