William A. Switzer Provincial Park provides excellent opportunities to view abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. The park is located in the transition zone between boreal forest and mountain habitats. It contains vast wetland complexes. This makes the park a good home for a diverse array of plants and animals. See our plant checklist.
More than 150 bird species have been spotted in the park, including at least 13 raptor species. These include nesting bald eagles, osprey, barred owls and great grey owls. Canoeing through the park provides access to water birds. The park's lakes and streams attract osprey and kingfishers. See our bird checklist.
At least 30 mammals frequent the park including wolves, coyotes, bears, beavers, pine martin, river otters, elk, moose, mule deer and white-tailed deer. See our mammal checklist.
Borrow a wildlife viewing pack from the visitor centre in summer. The packs contain field guides and binoculars.
Check out our new Who Lives Here? program, including the wildlife camera images.
- Kelley's Bathtub Trail
- Easy access to lake, forest and wetland ecosystems makes Kelley's Bathtub a superb site for viewing wildlife and shorebirds.
- Early morning visitors are sometimes treated to sightings of moose, deer, beavers and black bears.
- Wildlife viewing blind
- The viewing blind is located in Winter Creek meadow, located a short walk from the Cache Lake parking area. (See the map.)
- You may see deer, elk, birds, coyotes and small mammals.
- Athabasca Lookout Viewpoint
- At 1,585 metres, this informal viewpoint offers spectacular views of Solomon Valley.
- Watch for hawks and eagles soaring along foothills and mountain ranges to the west.
- Viewpoint parking is available at the luge parking lot at Hinton Nordic Centre.
- The hike up the access trail to the lookout takes approximately 15 minutes.
- Note: the fire tower is staffed and is not accessible to the public.
- Canoeing through the park
- Canoeing provides excellent opportunities to see water birds, especially loons and grebes. The park's lakes and streams attract osprey, kingfishers and bald eagles. Great gray owls live in the park's deciduous mixedwood forests. There are common snipes and northern saw-whet owls in May.
- You'll also likely see beaver, mink and muskrat.
- North of the Berland River, Highway 40 leads through woodland caribou winter range.
Wildlife Watching Tips
- Read wildlife signs.
- Watch for signs of wildlife such as tracks, scats, nests, cavities, and bits of fur and feathers
- Keep a safe distance.
- Many species (including bears, moose and elk) are potentially dangerous if approached too closely. See wildlife safety tips.
- Use a telephoto lens or binoculars to get a "closer look".
- Choose the appropriate time of day.
- Many species are more active and readily seen at certain times of the day. Early morning and late evening are often best.
- Have patience and keep quiet.
- Wildlife are sensitive to human presence.
- Move slowly and quietly. Stop for several minutes at a time.