MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

What is the best place to see bears and wolves in the wild?

What is the best place to see bears and wolves in the wild? - Valerie, Lynn

Wolves are stealthy and hard to spot; your best bet is to be in the woods at the crack of dawn or to watch a deer carcass in hopes wolves will show up to eat it. And when there's a lot of snow in the woods, wolves are more likely to use ski trails and other beaten-down paths, just like people, or to run on lakes with crusty tops.

The International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn., helps people use on-line tools to track wolves in Superior National Forest. For more, see Dreaming of Ely.

The center also offers a two-night wolf-tracking program, $470. Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center near Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., offers Timber Wolf Winter Tracking & Ecology workshops, $75, on Jan. 23-24 and Feb. 20-21 in 2010, including lodging and meals.

At Treehaven, a natural-resources center operated by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the woods between Tomahawk and Rhinelander, Wolf Ecology workshops are Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 27-28 and cost $140, including lodging and meals.

Bears hibernate in the winter. But the North American Bear Center in Ely has a web cam in the den of Lily, a 3-year-old wild bear expected to give birth in January 2010. In the same area, renowned researcher Lynn Rogers offers black-bear field-study courses. For more, see Ely and the three bears.

In the summer, a surefire place to see wild black bears is the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary near Orr, where food is put out every day. For more, see Beguiled by bears.

Black bears roam all across the north woods of the Upper Midwest, though you don't really want to come across a mother with cubs. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has quite a few bears and offers occasional bear programs. For more, see Afoot in the Porkies.

Last updated on January 17, 2010