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National Elk Refuge Tours

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National Elk Refuge
Part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Elk Refuge protects a 24,700-acre (10,000-hectare) winter habitat for the Jackson Elk Herd and several other endangered species of mammals, birds, and fish. With Grand Teton National Park as a backdrop, visitors can spot 47 species of mammals and nearly 175 species of birds.
 
The Basics
The National Elk Refuge represents one of the best wildlife viewing opportunities from Jackson Hole. Visitors can choose to explore independently by driving along Refuge Road or join a guided tour of the land. Sleigh rides are popular in winter, while walking and biking tours occur in the summer.
 
The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located in the southwest corner of the refuge, offers information on the history and habitats of the surrounding landscapes. History buffs should stop at historic Miller Ranch to learn about the first homesteaders to settle in the area. A visit to the refuge can also be combined with a tour of Grand Teton National Park.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The National Elk Refuge is a must-visit for families and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Jackson Hole.
  • Visit the refuge on a half-day tour, or combine it with Grand Teton National Park for a full day of wildlife viewing.
  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife, for both your safety and the animals’.
  • Dress in layers with sturdy shoes, and don’t forget to bring sun protection, even in winter.
 
How to Get There
The entrance to the National Elk Refuge is just a mile from Jackson Hole. Most visitors drive there independently, though it’s also possible to join a wildlife watching tour with included round-trip transportation from Jackson Hole hotels.
 
When to Get There
It’s possible to spot wildlife at the refuge year-round, but the best time for elk sightings is near dawn or dusk during the winter months, when some 5,000 elk come to the refuge to overwinter. If you visit during summer, ask at the visitor’s center for suggestions on where to spot elk.
 
ElkFest
Each weekend before Memorial Day, the Jackson Hole community gathers in Town Square to celebrate ElkFest. Among the main events is an antler auction, where thousands of pounds of elk antlers collected by the National Elk Refuge staff are sold to benefit the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Jackson District Boy Scouts.

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6 Tours and Activities to Experience National Elk Refuge

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Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Winter Day TripDay Trips

Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Winter Day Trip

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There’s a special beauty to Grand Teton National Park in the snowy silence of winter, free of the summertime crowds. On this Grand Teton day trip from Jackson Hole, a guide helps you search for bison and bighorn sheep, and you could also see moose, coyotes, eagles, or even wolves. In addition, visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art as well as the National Elk Refuge, where you ride past herds of powerful elk on a comfortable, horse-drawn sleigh.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$199.00 
From  
$199.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures

Half Day Grand Teton Wildlife Safari TourNature and Wildlife

Half Day Grand Teton Wildlife Safari Tour

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This half-day wildlife viewing tour takes in the splendor of the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park. Travel into the great American outdoors with an interpretive guide who shares insightful commentary on the region’s natural and cultural history. Cast your lens on herds of bison, pronghorn,  elk and more. Hotel pickup and drop-off from central Jackson Hole is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$145.00 
From  
$145.00 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Half Day Grand Teton Wildlife Safari TourNature and Wildlife

Half Day Grand Teton Wildlife Safari Tour

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Go in search of animals in their wintertime habitats on this wildlife tour from Jackson Hole. You'll explore the areas around Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge to look for elk, bison, bighorn sheep, foxes, coyotes, deer, waterfowl, bald eagles, moose, and maybe a wolf, stopping for plenty of photo ops. Along the way, hear about the ecology and history of this alpine region.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$145.00 
From  
$145.00 
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari TourDay Trips

Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari Tour

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Search out Jackson Hole's winter wildlife on a snowy safari through the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park. You'll be hot on the trail of thousands of deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and bison that travel into the valley each winter, alongside a population of eagles, swans, coyotes, fox, and wolves. After a morning wildlife safari through the national park, hop a horse-drawn sleigh in the National Elk Refuge, gliding into the middle of North America's largest wild elk herd.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$275.00 
From  
$275.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Private Safari TourDay Trips

Best of Jackson Hole Wildlife Private Safari Tour

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Explore Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge in search of wintering wildlife. After convenient hotel pickup in Jackson Hole and a light breakfast, travel with your guide to search for moose, big horn sheep, bald eagles, elk, and wolves. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and, if visiting between December and March, a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the largest elk heard in North America.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$1,275.00 
per group
From  
$1,275.00 
per group
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Half-Day Grand Teton Wildlife Private Safari TourNature and Wildlife

Half-Day Grand Teton Wildlife Private Safari Tour

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Jackson Hole may be known as a winter sports hub, but skiers and snowboarders often miss the majestic wildlife that make the Tetons truly spectacular. On this half-day wildlife tour, join a naturalist guide on the search for the region's wintering creatures, from elk and bison to bighorn sheep. Take in the natural beauty of the region's mountain ranges, enjoy breaks for scenic photo ops, and refuel with a light breakfast, included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$765.00 
per group
From  
$765.00 
per group
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience National Elk Refuge?

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