Smithers, British Columbia, Canada is one of the best places in the world to view mountain goats. You can watch mountain goats from several roads and campsites. Many more goats are seen along local hiking trails. There are usually snow patches close to goats but the goats will have a off-white, creamy colour compared to the blue-white of snow. The viewing season lasts from June 1 to October 1. From your car, use 10-power binoculars to spot the goats and a 20 - 60 power spotting scope to see close-up.
Viewing sites to drive to:
Main Street - Smithers
Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view goats on the slopes of Hudson Bay Mountain to the west from Main Street or or any other open location in downtown Smithers. Best in August and September.
Drive south from Smithers on Highway 16 for 4 km to the Babine Lake Road (Eckman Road) turnoff. Turn left (east) and proceed to the 26 km sign and look for a stretch of old roadbed on the right (east) side. Pull off the main road onto the old roadbed and use binoculars or a spotting scope to see goats in the steep cliffs to the east. This is a very good all-weather gravel road. Watch for logging trucks and avoid parking on the shoulder of the main road. Location is 614339 - 6110060 North UTM
Mt McKendrick - click to Zoom
Drive west from Houston BC on Highway 16 for 3.9 km and turn left (south) on the Morice River Forest Service road. Proceed 17.8 km to the Aspen Forest Recreation Site on the right side of the road. Use binoculars or a spotting scope to view goats on the cliffs of Morice Mountain to the east. This is a very good all-weather gravel logging road. Watch for logging trucks. Rec site is at 639688 6017476 North UTM.
Morice Mountain - click to Zoom
Drive north from Smithers on Highway 16 for 23.5 km and turn left on the Kitseguekla Lake road. Drive about 28 km to to near the end of the road and use binoculars or a spotting scope to view goats on the ridge to the north. This road starts as a very good all-weather public gravel road but changes to an unused logging road. Four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance are best suited. Take a power saw in case there are trees across the road. Good Viewing at 595761 - 6091622 UTM North.
Rocky Ridge - click to Zoom
Glacier Gulch/Twin Falls
Park at the parking lot and walk to the observation deck. Mountain goats can be anywhere in the surrounding cliffs.
Hiking trails for goat watching:
The following trails are listed in the order of importance for goat watching. Use binoculars and a 20-power still or video camera for the best images. This is bear country. Always carry bear spray when you hike. Click on the trail name to see more.
Wildlife Watching Ethics
Observe from a distance that's safe for you and for wildlife.
Move slowly and quietly.
Learn to recognize and respect wildlife alarm signals.
Allow wildlife to behave naturally.
Feeding animals can put you and the animals in danger.
Help others to become responsible wildlife watchers
You can encounter a herd or group of goats anywhere you hike in our local alpine areas. If you happen on mountain goats at less than 200 m distance, there are some things you can do to make the goats less anxious and to make your experience more memorable.
- Stop walking directly at the goats. Move slowly and quietly but keep moving.
- Take off your sunglasses. They make your eyes appear very large, dark and unblinking like the eyes of a stalking predator.
- Take off any large floppy hat. It makes you look alien.
- Speak in a low calm voice. Goats are fascinated by a soft human voice. Remember that predators on the stalk are silent.
- Look away occasionally. Predators stare.
- Travel at right angles to the goats if you can. Make room for the goats to get by. They will want to move upslope or sideways to reach escape terrain nearby.
- Mountain goats are usually very tolerant of visitors but remember that if you get too close to mountain goats or corner them, they will charge. That is the way they defend themselves against wolves and grizzlies. Use a telephoto lens on your camera to keep your distance.
- Never take dogs into the alpine – goats may tolerate you but they may see your dog as a predator. If your dog gets too close, they may attack just as they would defend themselves from a wolf.
- Human encounters with mountain goats should always be benign and non-threatening.
Visit the for accommodation and dining information
and to download brochures