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12 Adventures With Amazing Wildlife

Wild animals make us feel wild.

By: Liam McNally + Save to a List

There’s nothing quite like spotting a wild animal on an adventure to remind you that you’ve left the city behind and you really are just another creature on this planet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a squirrel darting across a trail you’ve hiked dozens of time or a humpback whale breaching a few hundred feet from your kayak on your first ever ocean kayaking trip, seeing animals in the wild makes us feel wild and that’s an amazing feeling. If you’re chasing that feeling, check out some of these adventures with incredible wildlife and start making your plans.

1. Winter Hiking and Wildlife in Waterton Canyon, Colorado

Photos: Ryan McKinney

Keep an eye out for the surprisingly large (up to 300lbs!) and surprisingly nimble bighorn sheep that frequent this area. You might also catch a view of some wild turkeys and mule deer. Learn more.

2. Kayak with Humpback Whales in Monterey Bay, California

Photos: Chase Dekker

Seeing humpback whales from a great distance is a magical experience, so just imagine how amazing it would be if you were actually out on the water with them. Learn more.

3. Photograph the National Bison Range, Montana

Photos: Meredith Baird

There aren’t a lot of places where bison roam like they used to but at the National Bison Range, established in 1908, you’ll see 350-500 of these nearly extinct bison roaming the hills along with elk, deer, coyotes, black bears, eagles, and many more animals that call the range home. Learn more.

4. Hike to the Summit of Mount Fox, New Zealand

Photos: Jake Young

New Zealand is home to the one and only species of alpine parrot in existence, the Kea. These charismatic birds will actually come hang near you if you take a break around them. Learn more.

5. Hike Mount Rogers, Virginia

Photos: Christin Healey

Who knew that wild ponies were a thing?! Head up to Mount Rogers in Virginia for what has to be one of the most unique wildlife opportunities in the country. Learn more.

6. Photograph the Big 5, South Africa

Photos: Lucas Pols

This is next level wildlife exploration. You’ll need to book a guide and all that but as far as wildlife viewing goes...it doesn’t get much better than an African safari. If this isn’t enough of a thrill, maybe diving with sharks is more your speed. Learn more.

7. Hiking and Wildlife on the Gros Ventre River, Wyoming

Photos: Chase Dekker

Located on the edge of Grand Teton National Park, the Gros Ventre River region attracts many beautiful species of wildlife. Be on the lookout for moose, bison, elk, owls, and much more. Learn more.

8. Kayak in Elkhorn Slough, California

Photos: Chase Dekker

Elkhorn Slough is home to the largest population of sea otters on the planet and just look at these little guys! You’ll be entertained for hours watching them play around. Learn more.

9. Hike to Iceberg Glacier in Glacier NP, Montana

Photos: Conor Barry

If you’re exploring Glacier National Park, expect to come across some bears and, of course, always be prepared with bear spray. Learn more.

10. Hike to the End of Point Reyes at Tomales Point, California

Photos: Jake Young

Just an hour north of San Francisco, you can explore this coastal adventure playground and spot tule elk, coyotes, and more with the majestic Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Learn more.

11. Hike to Joffre Lakes, Whistler BC

Photos: Emily Haggar

The Whistler area has a large population of bald eagles and on this hike up to Joffre Lakes you’ve got a great chance of seeing one soaring above one of the beautiful mountain lakes. Learn more.

12. Kayak Sucia Island, Washington

Photos: Kathleen Morton

The PNW is home to amazing marine life and this kayak trip will bring you up close to sea lions, sea birds, and even whales. Learn more.

Cover photo: Chase Dekker

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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