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National Elk Refuge

National Elk Refuge: Our most recommended tours and activities

Jackson: Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Winter Day Trip

1. Jackson: Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Winter Day Trip

After an early morning pickup from your hotel, your guide will take you to Grand Teton National Park. Even in the chilling winter, wildlife such as moose, bison, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, bald eagles, golden eagles, pronghorn, coyotes, and even wolves can be spotted in the park.  You will witness the beauty of the wide, snowy plains that stretch out to the jagged mountains as you learn about the ancient geology that gave rise to the landscape. At midday, escape the cold and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the famous western-cowboy town of Jackson, Wyoming. After lunch, you will head back outside for a horse-drawn sleigh ride on the National Elk Refuge, carrying you through the low valley that hosts thousands of wintering elk. Snap photos of the large herds as your guide explains how the elk migrate from the surrounding area to the refuge, a 24,700-acre (9,996-hectare) winter sanctuary hosting 47 different mammals and nearly 175 species of birds such as trumpeter swans and bald eagles. At the end of a memorable 8-hour tour of this winter wonderland, you will return to your hotel.

Grand Teton National Park: Wildlife Tour and Sleigh Ride

2. Grand Teton National Park: Wildlife Tour and Sleigh Ride

Discover Grand Teton National Park during the winter on a full-day tour from Jackson Hole. View wildlife and learn about the history, geology, wildlife, and more from your local and professional guide. Spend the day looking for moose, elk, bighorn sheep, wolves, eagles, foxes, and other wildlife. Weather permitting, visit beautiful sights such as Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake. From mid-December to early April, this tour includes a 60-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride on the National Elk Refuge. Get up close to large elk for fantastic photo opportunities.  During the shoulder season, the tour does not include a sleigh ride. Instead, spend more time spotting wildlife. After an exciting day and plenty of great photos, the tour will end at the same location where you were picked up.

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour

3. Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour

Embark on a self-guided tour of Grand Teton National Park using an app that functions as your guide, audio tour, and map. Discover the park's most spectacular lookouts, learn about its history, and get to know the local wildlife. Start your adventure by downloading the app that will serve as your personal guide throughout this trip. Then, head to the Jackson Hole Visitor Center where you'll find everything you need to start your journey. From here, make your way toward Teton Village while you learn about the unusual history of Jackson Hole and the formation of the Tetons themselves. Your drive will take you through the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve, a 1,106-acre refuge within the park. See landmarks like the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a relic of a bygone era, and Mount Moran, rising a staggering 6,000 feet above the lake at its base. Drive through Colter Bay, one of the premier camping spots in the park and a great place to stop if you plan to spend the night. Visit Cattleman’s Bridge and marvel at the views from Oxbow Bend. Discover one of the clearest lakes in the whole country and take an optional ferry across the lake to a lovely lookout point. End your tour of the park at the National Elk Refuge, home to the biggest herd of elk on earth.

Jackson: 4-Day Grand Teton & Yellowstone Winter Tour

4. Jackson: 4-Day Grand Teton & Yellowstone Winter Tour

• Day 1: Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge Meet your friendly guide and group and head off for an afternoon wildlife tour in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge in a heated Suburban or other 10-passenger vehicle. On the tour, you'll have your best chance of seeing moose in the park, along with wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and bison. Settle in for the night at your accommodation in Jackson, Wyoming.  • Day 2: National Elk Refuge sleigh ride and West Yellowstone, Montana Depart in the early morning from your Jackson lodging for a sleigh ride in the National Elk Refuge, filled with over 5,000 elk. After the ride, the tour will continue through Grand Teton National Park to West Yellowstone. Cross over the Continental Divide and enjoy some free time to shop in the historic town of West Yellowstone upon arrival. Spend the night at an accommodation in West Yellowstone, Montana.  • Day 3: Snowcoach tour into Yellowstone National Park Depart in the morning for a wintery visit to Yellowstone. Hop on the specialized winter vehicle that will take you to see the famous Old Faithful. Along the way, keep an eye out for bison and elk, and admire the beautiful scenery as you proceed toward the Madison River. Stops include Fountain Paint Pots and Old Faithful, where you can see geysers erupt and explore the area on foot. After lunch, head back to West Yellowstone, stopping for photos along the way. Spend the night in West Yellowstone, Montana.  • Day 4: West Yellowstone National Park to Jackson Hole, Wyoming Leave West Yellowstone in the morning and set off on a trip to the geological site where the Hebgen Lake Earthquake of 1959 occurred. Sit back, relax, and marvel at the beautiful winter scenery and deep snow on your way back through Island Park and on to Jackson Hole, where the tour will end.

Grand Teton National Park: 8-Hour Willdlife & Snowshoe Tour

5. Grand Teton National Park: 8-Hour Willdlife & Snowshoe Tour

Delight in a full-day expedition to Grand Teton National Park from Jackson. Spend the first half of the day adventuring via snowshoe in the park, then take a safari-style drive to discover the local wildlife in the afternoon. Throughout the day, benefit from the services of a naturalist guide who will lead discussions on topics of your interest and provide you with ample time to take photographs. Begin your day by meeting your guide in the town of Jackson to maximize your time in the park. After entering the national park, explore the back-country on snowshoes. Keep an eye out for animal tracks and signs, discuss topics like winter ecology and snow science, and be treated to a variety of high-quality snacks in the field. Then, head back to the car for lunch at a local resort or a restaurant before focusing on viewing wildlife in the afternoon. Sit back and relax in a fully outfitted safari-style rig with a guaranteed window seat for everyone. With the aid of high-quality binoculars and spotting scopes, peruse amazing winter habitats in search of critters such as bighorn sheep, elk, moose, deer, coyote, fox, eagles, trumpeter swans, and more.

Top sights near National Elk Refuge

Other Sightseeing Options in National Elk Refuge

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What people are saying about National Elk Refuge

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 85 reviews

Where do I begin? Sarah was our tour guide and her knowledge of the area was incredible. This was our first time out to Idaho/Wyoming and it was something we will never forget. Sarah knew where to go so we were able to see Moose, Bison, Mule Deer, Elk, Big Horn Sheep, an immature Eagle, and a coyote. For me she was so much more than just a tour guide, she helped me with my little kids and went above and beyond to make sure we were happy and comfortable. She made the day feel like it was spent with family. I highly recommend this guided tour, it was private and everything I wanted and more!!!

Our guide was very good and knowledgeable. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but he tried hard to find us some. Went several different place to locate some. It was a very nice time. The van was so comfortable and warm.

Our guide Neil was outstanding. He was knowledgeable, engaging and gave us a great experience. The day was clear, the animals were out and the weather was great! My kid loved it! A+

We have a really awesome time in this tour. The guide was excellent and had a lot of knowledge and explaining everything so well.

Great experience. Kelsie, our guide, went above and beyond. Saw lots of animals and learned a lot!