Part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Elk Refuge is more than just a winter habitat for Jackson Elk Herd—it’s a habitat for many different species of endangered animals and big game. The Refuge has been part of the Jackson scenery for more than 100 years, created after conflict between the elk and humans significantly depleted the elk population. Today the refuge consists of approximately 25,000 acres dedicated to elk winter range. The elk stay on the refuge for approximately six months each winter and guests have the opportunity to learn more about the herd through interactive displays and educational programs. Get up close views of the herd during a winter sleigh ride or utilize one of the several wildlife viewing areas on the refuge.
The best time to view elk and other wildlife on the Refuge is during the winter season, from November to April. Public access is restricted to the main roads; walking, skiing and other off-road activities are prohibited to protect the wildlife. For more information, visit the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, an interagency facility that includes information from multiple organizations, including the National Elk Refuge. The Visitor Center is located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter and 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. in the summer.