National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming
Elk Refuge Rd, Jackson, Wyoming 83001| Map |
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Consisting of 24,700 acres of intermountain valley in the Jackson Hole area of northwestern Wyoming, the National Elk Refuge preserves habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd as well as for endangered species, birds, fish and other animals. As visitors explore the valley’s grassy meadows and marshes, they will have many opportunities to see elk, bison, bald eagles and trumpeter swans, which have snowy white feathers and an eight-foot wingspan. Besides wildlife viewing, activities include fishing, hunting, photography and interpretive programs. Many visitors enjoy biking, walking or jogging along a five mile segment of a multi-use pathway that runs through the refuge from the visitor center to the Gros Ventre River. In winter, horse-drawn rides with viewings of thousands of elk are the most popular activity. Recognizing the importance of introducing kids to the outdoors, the National Elk Refuge provides interactive educational displays, wintertime sleigh ride bingo and the Jr. Blue Goose Ranger Program. The Blue Goose is the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Children can earn a Blue Goose patch by exploring the exhibits in the visitor center and completing a Jr. Blue Goose Ranger booklet. Families can time their visit to the National Elk refuge to see the herd’s seasonal changes. In winter, thousands of elk feed on native vegetation. Bighorn sheep can often be seen during this time. In spring, the elk shed their antlers (in March and April), grow new ones and begin drifting from the refuge toward summer ranges in the high country. Migratory birds find their way to the refuge in spring. Summer is a good time to see song birds, ducks, geese, swans and great blue herons. The elk, which have moved to mountain meadows and forests, have shed their coats for sleek, red hair. Bulls’ antlers reach their full growth in August. Breeding season takes place in September and October. From October through December, elk descend from their higher ranges to seek food at lower elevations. Migrating birds pass through on their way to wintering areas farther south.
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- Teens (13+)
Tips for Families
Winter is the best time to see thousands of elk at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, WY, although the facility is open year-round for wildlife viewing and other activities. Be sure to dress in layers and to bring cameras.
Address: Elk Refuge Rd, Jackson, Wyoming 83001| Map
Phone: 307 733 9212