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Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife

52 Week Adventure Challenge

09.18.17

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Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife

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  • View south toward Baker Beach from Sea Lion Point.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Hawk at Summer Lake.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Summer Lake in Oregon's outback.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • The path to the Nisqually River Overlook.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Canada goose in Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Sol Duc River Salmon Cascades.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Bison walking along the road in West Yellowstone.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Grazing elk in West Yellowstone.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Two young bison fighting in West Yellowstone.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Large flocks of Canada geese are common in winter in Fern Ridge Wildlife Area.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Seven-point bull in Prairie Creek Roosevelt Elk.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Roosevelt Elk with their winter coats in Elk Meadow.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • The paths and bridges at Delta Ponds are level and well built.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Bison in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Coyote looking for a snack in Yellowstone National Park.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Bison grazing by a pond in the Lamar Valley.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • A fox in the Lamar Valley.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Bison and lupine in Lamar Valley.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Pronghorn antelope doe near Sough Creek.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Kit with mother otter in Morro Bay.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Morro Bay is a working fishing port.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Taking the plunge from the rocks just off of Geoffroy Drive.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Cormorants on the cliffside along Geoffrey Drive.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Dolphins swim in Monterey Bay just off the bluff.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Monarch butterfly in Ellwood Butterfly Grove.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • A red-winged blackbird in the Alice Bernis Thompson Wildlife Sanctuary.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Moose feeding in the marsh in the Alice Bernis Thompson Wildlife Sanctuary.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • This is one of the larger ponds in the Fisher Butte Unit.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Black-necked stilt in Fern Ridge Wildlife Area Fisher Butte Unit.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
  • Mount Ascutney through the fog in Wilgus State Park.- Best American Adventures for Spotting Wildlife
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Contributor

The allure of spotting wildlife is among the top reasons to visit the outdoors. Your first view of a creature you’ve never seen before is at once an inspiring and magical experience, and one that stays with you. While the less-traveled hiker might assume wild animals and exotic birds are around every corner, the regular trailblazers know what a rarity these occurrences actually are.

As their natural habitats shrink, so does the wildlife population. You can hike forests where grizzlies used to roam freely, though they have now been hunted to the point of endangerment and have had their territories shifted further north. You can wander trails that see only a fraction of the deer and elk they used to. The sad fact is that our wild areas are always becoming less wild. Which is why taking a moment to appreciate them as they are today is so vital to our understanding of the natural world.

All over the country stewards of the land have fought to create national parks, refuges, and other protected areas to prevent the extinction of species and the exploitation of natural resources. Because of generations of hard work and preservation, there still exist a fair number of places you can go to step out into the wild and see landscapes as they were meant to be and have been for thousands of years.

The Northwest and Northeast in particular contain an abundance of wildlife, and parks devoted to their protection. Along the West Coast you can see families of sea lions and otters, while elk, grizzlies, and black bears roam the landscape further north. Inland, Yellowstone National Park remains a pillar of the North American ecosystem, providing wide open spaces for bison and bears to roam. On the East Coast, deer, bear, fox, and wild cats still inhabit many of the wooded areas, and protected marshlands and bird sanctuaries exist to protect rare species of birds and insects. Here are a few places to guide your wildlife adventures. Remember to follow park guidelines on safe food storage and educate yourself on safe behavior and proximity to these animals before visiting. It's often humans that put animals and their habitats in danger, and reading up in advance can go a long way toward keeping these amazing places wild. 

Oregon

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, East Coyote Unit
Delta Ponds
Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Fisher Butte Unit
Sea Lion Caves
Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Royal Amazon Unit
Summer Lake
Jackson-Frazier Wetland
Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Applegate Unit

Washington

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Sol Duc River Salmon Cascades
Bottle Beach State Park
Birch Bay State Park
John's River State Wildlife Area
Reed Island State Park Campsite

California

Ellwood Butterfly Grove
Prairie Creek Roosevelt Elk
Elephant Seal Overlook
Morro Bay Sea Otter Viewing
Geoffroy Drive Wildlife Viewing
Elkhorn Slough
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

Wyoming    

Lamar Valley
West Yellowstone
Teton Crest Trail
Moose-Teton Road Ponds
Mount Washburn Via Chittenden Road

The Northeast

Alice Bemis Thompson Wildlife Sanctuary
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Acadia National Park
Thundering Brook Falls
Woodford State Park
Wilgus State Park
Mount Carrigain Via Signal Ridg

#52AdventureChallenge

We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!

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