19 Feb 2016
An absolute must-do activity when vacationing in Jackson Hole during the winter season is visiting the National Elk Refuge. Riding in horse-drawn sleigh, among a huge herd of elk on land bordering two National Forests, is an unforgettable experience that is very unique to Jackson Hole.
The National Elk Refuge can be spotted within minutes of your arrival into Jackson Hole. Located 5 miles south of the airport are the 24,700 acres known as the winter habitat and nationally managed feeding ground for thousands of elk. Elk are not the only wildlife species you may see in this area. Bison, big horn sheep, wolves, bald eagles, and trumpeter swans are commonly spotted as well.
Interesting information about all the wildlife, and the rich history of the refuge, will be explained on your guided sleigh tour by a real life Wyoming cowboy. Another highlight of the refuge tour is the amazing views of the area, with the Grand Tetons to the West, the Gros Ventre hills to the East, and the Town of Jackson and Snow King Mountain to the South; all providing a beautiful backdrop no matter which direction you look.
The National Elk Refuge is open all winter long from mid-December to early April. Hours of operation are from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and include weekends and all holidays except for Christmas. Tickets and pick up for the sleigh rides are available at the Jackson Hole / Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located just north of the Jackson Town Square. Reservations are not required. The sleigh rides run on a first come, first serve basis. Even during a low snow year (as in the some of the photos), the sleighs are able to run as wagons. The elk refuge sleigh ride is a great afternoon activity for everyone in the family, and a nice way to spend a day off from skiing and snowboarding, while also spending time in the historic Town of Jackson. Blankets are provided, but it is a good idea to dress warmly, so you are sure to be comfortable.