Wildlife: Where to See Wolves - Backpacker

Wildlife: Where to See Wolves

Find these nocturnal animals at dawn.


Alaska, Canada, Rockies, Great Lakes, New Mexico, and Arizona


>> Around their dens From February to June, wolves care for their pups. Look for holes on the sides of rocky slopes or hills.

>> Near beaver ponds “They’re magnets for wolves,” says Rolf Peterson, a wildlife biologist at Michigan Technological University. >> Trails, forest roads, and snowmobile tracks “Wolves use them as travel corridors, just as hikers do,” says Peterson.

>> Shallow rivers in March and April Wolves seek out carcasses in river bottoms, where ungulates weak from the winter go to die.


>> Dawn Wolves are nocturnal.

>> Spring and autumn In spring, they stay close to the dens, and in autumn, you can hear them padding over dry leaves. Plus, by fall, weaned pups are traveling with the pack, upping the viewing ops.


>> Look for ravens, magpies, and bald and golden eagles: These scavengers feed on the same carcasses that wolves do.

>> Sit, wait, and watch. “When observers are active, they’re easy for wolves to detect and avoid,” Peterson says.

Top spots

Up to 18 packs roam wolf-dense Denali NP. Or spot them in Isle Royale NP, off Michigan’s coast, on the 16.2-miler from McCargoe Cove to Rock Harbor (backpacker.com/hikes/10248).