The USA is home to some truly iconic wildlife. Black Bears roaming solitary through the forest. Coyotes speeding after their prey. Moose proudly bearing their six-foot antlers. It's little wonder that, for travellers, the nation's wonderful wildlife acts as such a strong draw.
If you, too, feel the pull of the wild calling you to the USA, you'll find that the country's national parks are among the best places to spot these beautifully wild creatures. There are certain places that stand out for spotting different species and here are some of the very best places to encounter the USA's most iconic species.
1). Yellowstone National Park
Best for: bears and wolves
The USA's number one national park, Yellowstone is an incredible destination. Its stunning medley of meadows, jagged peaks and steaming fumaroles make this one of the most memorable parks in the country - and that's without even taking into account the remarkable array of wildlife, including bison, river otters and over 70 species of bird.
Among its stand-out inhabitants are the Black Bear and the wolf, both of which you could be lucky enough to spot. Your chance of viewing the latter is enhanced if you join a wolf-tracking excursion led by an expert guide - something well worth doing if you want to catch a glimpse of this shrewd creature.
The Black Bear...
The most common species of bear in North America, the Black Bear is a breathtaking animal to observe - always from a safe distance. Contrary to what their name suggests, Black Bears can be a number of colours - including, in very rare cases, white.
Solitary creatures, Black Bears roam vast areas, and are rather opportunistic in their eating habits. While they typically eat grasses, berries and roots, they can eat mammals, fish and even any food they may find at campsites.
The wolf's characteristic howl may be a cornerstone of spooky tales, but there's plenty about this animal to enthral you outside of the realm of fiction. The largest members of the dog family, these intensely territorial animals are known for their exceptional pack hunting skills, which allows them to bring down large animals such as elk and moose. By spending some of your time in the park with a wolf tracking guide, you can learn all about how these fascinating creatures hunt together.
Best for: moose
Exhibiting New England's characteristic charming scenery, Maine is the perfect place to see moose - not least of all because it's the state's official animal.
A large wilderness area, Baxter State Park is among the best spots to see moose. Moreover, it's also home to the state's highest peak, Katahdin; the spectacular scenery here is another compelling reason to visit.
However, the wildlife-focused traveller will be more interested in spotting the moose. Living 15 to 20 years, these creatures are taller than humans, and are the largest species of deer on the planet.
The males are perhaps the most distinctive, owing to their colossal antlers, which can span up to six feet from end to end. Their size belies their speed and adaptability on a variety of terrain - not only can they reach speeds of 35 mph on land, but they can also swim several miles at time.
3). Yosemite National Park
Best for: coyotes
Stunning Yosemite National Park is home to a mesmerising mix of spectacular waterfalls, deep valleys, ancient giant sequoias and much more. The wildlife that populates this utterly arresting reserve is no less diverse - little surprise considering the range of habitats it plays host to.
Spanning close to 1,200 square miles, its scenic highlights include the waterfalls and unusual rock formations of Yosemite Valley, and the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. And while you're exploring these stunning landscapes, you may be fortunate enough to spot one of the US's iconic creatures - the coyote.
While relatively small (the wolf is bigger), the coyote is a formidable creature - in more ways than one. Not only is it a skilled hunter, with running speeds of up to 40 mph, keen vision and a fantastic sense of smell, but it is incredibly adaptable. Having once inhabited deserts and prairies, it now also lives in forests and mountains and, surprisingly, thrives in cities.
4). Denali National Park
Best for: elk
Home to North America's tallest mountain, Denali National Park in Alaska has a dizzying array of exciting creatures: Grizzly Bears, caribou, wolves and, in particular, elk.
The 6,194-metre tall Mount McKinley is the icon of this six million-acre park, which boasts some of Alaska's most impressive and refreshingly unspoilt scenery. It is an especially good national park for hiking - and, of course, such adventures present the ideal opportunity for wildlife spotting.
Another icon of the USA's animal kingdom, elk are related to deer. Like the moose, their antlers can grow to an impressive size, though slightly smaller, spanning up to four feet above its head. This can make them as tall as nine feet - and as such a formidable sight in the wilderness.
While you could once see this fascinating creature across North America, it has largely been killed off and driven to remote areas, making the chance to see it enjoying life in the wild all the more precious.
These are just a few of the awe-inspiring wildlife adventures waiting for you in the USA. The beauty of choosing to discover the nation’s wildlife not only lies in the creatures themselves, but the spectacular scenery they live in. Take a specialist wildlife group holiday to visit the prime spots, and benefit from a wealth of expertise to enrich your trip and to truly experience untamed America.