Celebrate the true spirit of winter in the Old West with a horse-drawn sleigh ride out onto Jackson Hole's National Elk Refuge. Closed to vehicle access, daily winter sleigh rides on the refuge are a unique and amazing way to see thousands of elk and other species of Jackson Hole's wildlife up close.
Where: Tours start at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache Street.
When: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Dec. 17 through April 2. Daily, except Christmas.
Costs: Adults $21 and ages 5-12, $15. Kids 4 and under ride for free. Private sleighs available.
Duration: About an hour.
Phone: (800) 772-5386
Out On the Refuge
With a special permit to operate on the National Elk Refuge, these sleigh rides are a rare chance to interact with Jackson's wildlife in their own habitat. Formed in 1912, the National Elk Refuge consists of almost 25,000 acres of preserved land for its vast herd to range during winter. Initially, the sleighs that ventured out into the refuge would scatter feed for the elk while lucky guests climbed onboard for the trip to take in the views. While today's rides no longer feed the elk, they remain directly in the spirit of those early traditions.
Bundle up, jump in for the ride, and most importantly, keep your eyes open for sightings of elk (obviously!), coyotes, foxes, bison, eagles and other local wildlife. Your sleigh will be the only man-made thing out on the snowy plain of the refuge, so bring your camera for unique close-ups of the elk and glorious Teton and Sheep Mountain views. Sights here haven't changed much since the refuge opened more than 100 years ago.
Make it Happen
This winter, from December 17th through April 2nd, the Double H Bar ranch will be operating sleigh rides on the National Elk Refuge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and private tours at times of your own scheduling. Buy tickets at the Visitor Center located at 532 North Cache St., just a few blocks north of Jackson's Town Square on the right hand side. Reservations are suggested, as the sleigh rides are run on a first come, first served basis.
For more information call (307) 733-0277 or 1 (800) 772-5386.
The Last Word
If you're heading out on a sleigh ride, make sure to remember to dress warm! A warm coat, hat, gloves and boots are necessary; you will be provided with a cozy wool blanket to put across your legs on the sleigh. Temperatures out on the refuge can be chillier than back in town, and you want to be able to sit back and enjoy!
Traveler Tip: Don't forget your camera. The beautiful scenery on the refuge is one of the best opportunities for photography in the winter!
Related Article: Find out how to dress for Jackson Hole in the winter.