Much of the park is above treeline. At lower elevations, alpine fir, Engleman spruce, and lodgepole pine predominate, interspersed with juniper, twinberry, false azalea, white rhododendron, and buffalo berry. Yellow violets, foam flowers, and bunchberries add a touch of colour. The meadows are alive with scrub birch, cinque foil, Saskatoon berry and gooseberry. Alpine flowers such as fireweed, castilleja, blue violet, elephant’s head, and giant ragwort splash the area with vivid displays of colour.
Flowers, trees, and shrubs are part of the park’s natural heritage. Please do not damage or remove them. The area surrounding the Elk Lakes is a mature old growth forest and includes dead snags that provide excellent habitat for cavity-dwelling birds and small mammals.
The wildlife at lower elevations includes scores of red squirrels and snowshoe hares. Beavers reside near the Elk Lakes and upper reaches of Cadorna Creek. Elk, white-tailed deer, and moose frequent the meadows throughout the park. Occasionally a mountain goat, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, grizzly bear or black bear may be seen by the observant visitor. Birdlife is common in the area. While hiking or sitting quietly, one might see spruce grouse, wrens, juncos, snipe, flickers, or the Clark’s nutcracker. A variety of waterfowl is transient in the lake areas, as are osprey and blue herons.
Learn more about wildlife safety.