Winter in Yellowknife is long, so expect to see snow and ice from October to May. Days are shorter so if you’re wanting to see wildlife during the day, know that your window of opportunity is much shorter than in summer months. There are opportunities for wildlife viewing almost everywhere! From the epic Northern highways from, planes or boats, winter roads and on nature tours with Northwest Territories outfitters.
Frame Lake Trail
The Frame Lake trail loops around Frame Lake and offers a number of wildlife viewing opportunities. In the winter you can expect to see willow ptarmigan, magpies, ravens, red polls, house sparrows, red fox, and occasionally coyotes.
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Once in a rare while an arctic fox or wolf is spotted on or near the lake but these are extremely rare sightings.
Niven Lake Trail
It can seem pretty quiet around the Niven Lake area once the snow falls but you can still find ptarmigan, woodpeckers, house sparrows, red polls, white-winged crossbills, snow buntings, magpies, ravens, and foxes. Once in a while, there are reports of a lynx or wolverine but these animals are a very rare sight.
Ski Hill and Back Bay
If you plan to hike or sled in this area, be sure to keep your eyes open and your dog leashed to avoid conflicts with wildlife.
The ski hill and back bay are well known for coyote dens so there is a chance you may encounter one or more. Coyotes prey on small rodents, ptarmigan, and snowshoe hares all of which can be seen in this area.
Occasionally timber wolves will pass through this area so watch the trails for wolf tracks and be aware of your surroundings. Wolves are masters at disappearing into the forest but pay attention and you might catch a glimpse of one of the North’s most magnificent creatures.
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Yellowknife can be a great place to visit in the winter. There are lots of things to do from aurora tours to ice fishing to snowmobile adventures. There are lots of opportunities to see wildlife in the winter and with the abundance of snow, you’ll also have a chance to practice your tracking skills.