14 Jan 2023
Jackson Hole is home to a diverse range of wildlife, but you won’t find a more impressive (or memorable) wildlife experience than at the Jackson Hole Elk Refuge. Each winter, thousands of elk travel long distances to winter together on the snowy plains of the Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole. Here are the top three things you need to know before visiting the Refuge...
How many elk are in the National Elk Refuge?
For the chance to see the most elk in one place, visit during the winter months when you have a chance to see an average of 5,000 elk. (Some years have even drawn 6,000-8,000 elk!) An estimated 11,000 elk from the Jackson Elk Herd migrate in and out of the Refuge and the surrounding Jackson Hole and Yellowstone area each year.
What animals are in the National Elk Refuge?
With over 25,000 acres of land, this area is a paradise for hundreds of wildlife species - which means you may have the fortune of seeing more than just elk! The meadows, lakes, and streams are critical habitats for many species such as bison, pronghorn, wolves, bighorn sheep, Trumpeter swans, bald eagles, and trout.
Can you drive into the National Elk Refuge?
Yes, you can easily drive into the National Elk Refuge. The closest road is the Refuge Road which begins at the end of East Broadway Avenue in Jackson. In the winter, you’ll only be able to drive the first 3.5 miles to limit disturbing the herd.
Top Tip: The road will have several good places to pull over and take pictures to document your journey. If you’re visiting in the winter, reserve a spot on a sleigh ride that takes you up close to the herd.
Season & Hours of Operation:
Click here to check out the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's website for updated hours (weather conditions permitting).
Sleigh rides are available between 10:00am-4:00pm daily. Closed Christmas Day, December 25th.
Sleigh Ride Duration:
Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour on the sleigh.
From check-in to drop-off, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Refuge website.
If you’re wondering about where the elk are during the summer, Staff at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center can recommend areas where you may see elk during the summer months. Dusk and dawn are the best times for spotting elk as they come out to feed in the cool of the day.
Click here to see images of elk on the Jackson Hole Elk Refuge. It’s an amazing sight to see and you’ll want to experience it for yourself!
Where should I stay for my trip to Jackson Hole?
Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a mountain home? Rendezvous Mountain Rentals offers beautiful mountain vacation homes in the perfect location for the right price. Browse our full selection of Teton Village homes here, or check out our Specials for discounts and other offers!