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Thousands of elk flock to the low-lying meadows of the National Elk Refuge every winter.

Visit the National Elk Refuge Near Jackson Hole

Visit the National Elk Refuge for an unforgettable wildlife experience: a horse-drawn sleigh ride through an elk herd, with elk numbering in the thousands!

National Elk Refuge Jackson HoleNational Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming

Hundreds of years ago, elk roamed much of what was now North America, grazing in grasslands, valleys, and foothills all across the continent. As their lands were settled, their numbers were reduced, and the remaining elk gradually migrated to the mountainous west. People living in Jackson Hole in the late 1800s and early 1900s became aware of the nearby elk herd and began using sleighs to travel to their feeding grounds to see them. Interest in the animals grew, and the refuge was officially established in 1912. The sleigh rides became so popular that in 1965, the refuge began offering sleigh ride tours to the public. 

Today, the refuge encompasses 25,000 acres of elk winter range, the only winter range remaining for elk near Jackson Hole. 

Tour the Elk Refuge by Sleigh!

At the National Elk Refuge, sleigh tours are available to winter visitors from mid-December through early April. The season is scheduled through the end of March/first weekend of April, tentatively, weather and herd conditions permitting,

Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride Booking & Tickets

Sleigh rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are available for everyone, but not required. However, we strongly recommend reservations during holidays and for large groups. To make a reservation, click here.  Tickets can also be purchased directly from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm during sleigh ride season at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 N. Cache St. at the north end of Jackson. Look for the white trailer in the parking lot. 

How to Dress for Your Sleigh Ride

Your sleigh ride will last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, so please dress warmly. Appropriate dress for your sleigh ride includes a warm coat, hat, gloves, and warm boots. Surprisingly, the temperature can feel significantly colder on the sleigh ride compared to in town. Chilling winds often blow up the valley, and snowstorms can happen anytime. Warmly-dressed visitors can take all of this in stride.

A majestic elk at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole, WyomingTour Departure Location & Information

Tours depart from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, where a shuttle bus picks up sleigh ride participants and takes them to the boarding area for sleighs. Accommodations exist for visitors with disabilities. Sleigh rides last 45 minutes to 1 hour; the total time for the tour is 1 1/2 hours including shuttle bus pick up and drop off. 

The Visitor Center hours are 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. during sleigh ride season. Elk Refuge sleigh rides depart 3-4 times per hour, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily. 

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