While Alta’s fantastic wildflowers often get prime billing when it comes to our summer attractions, many repeat visitors to Little Cottonwood Canyon consider seeing a real, live moose to be an annual bucket-list item. Much like human beings, moose are drawn to the upper elevations of the Wasatch Mountains during the summer season, where temperatures are cool and forage is plentiful, and Albion Basin in particular is a great place to catch a glimpse of one of North America’s largest wild mammal species.
Moose are impressive for their size–they can stand six feet tall and weigh almost 1500 pounds–and they are often seemingly quite docile, particularly in places like Alta where they may be more adapted to human presence. However, a charging moose can do a lot of damage, and so they should be given a wide berth. Here are some tips for how to see a moose, and for how to stay safe in moose country:
–Moose are commonly observed in the wettest places in Alta. Several Alta hiking trails travel near creeks and wetlands, including the Lower Albion Meadows Trail, which follows Little Cottonwood Creek through the Alta base area, and the Catherine’s Pass Trail, which passes a beautiful riparian area just below Catherine’s Pass. Click here to see the Alta Summer Recreation Map.
–Moose are most active during the morning and evening.
–If you see a moose, do not approach it, and do not feed moose or any wildlife.
–Moose cows, or females, are most aggressive in the springtime. Even if you don’t see any baby moose in tow, they may be just out of sight. Don’t get in between a mother moose and her calves.
–Bull moose are most aggressive in the fall.
–If you encounter a moose up-close and unexpectedly, stay calm. Talk to the moose, and walk away slowly.
–If a moose becomes aggressive, get behind something solid, like a tree, a boulder, or a building.
–Always drive slowly through Alta and on the summer road, because moose and other critters could be hanging out just out of sight along the road.
Check out www.wildawareutah.org for more information about moose and other wildlife in Alta.