National Elk Refuge in Jackson Wyoming

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National Elk Refuge

The National Elk Refuge, located just north of Jackson Hole, is home to thousands of elk every winter with opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography all year round.

  • The largest concentration of elk in the country.
  • Located just North of the town of Jackson.
  • Elk take refuge here during the Winter months, they are not here in the Summer.
  • Winter Sleigh Rides depart frequently.

The National Elk Refuge is one of 548 National Wildlife Refuges in the United States and home to thousands of elk during the harsh Wyoming winter months. According to the Wyoming Elk Refuge government website, the elk refuge "works to provide, preserve, restore and manage winter habitat for the nationally significant Jackson Elk herd and habitat for endangered species, birds, fish and other big game animals". 

Located just north of Jackson, WY and south of Yellowstone National Park,  the elk refuge is easy to access and offers wonderful wildlife viewing and photography opportunities.  

The winter season is the only time of year you will be able to observe the thousands of elk that make the Elk Refuge their temporary home.  During the summer months when the elk migrate out of the Jackson Hole Elk Refuge is a fantastic place to go for a run or scenic drive.  Keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep, deer, bison and even a mountain lion.


Sleigh Rides
During the winter, scenic and educational sleigh rides are offered daily from 10am-4pm.  Tickets for the sleigh ride on the Elk Refuge are sold at the visitor center, located on North Cache Street in Jackson, WY.  A free shuttle will transport you to the sleigh ride and expect the ride to last at least an hour.  

Scenic Drive or Stroll
During the summer, the elk refuge road is a great place for a run, walk or scenic drive.  The dirt road is located on the far east side of Jackson, WY. 

Fly Fishing
Fly fishing enthusiasts also test their luck along Flat Creek, which runs right through the Elk Refuge. The fish in this creek are known to be "smart" which provides a great challenge to those skilled anglers. You must have a license (attainable at fly shops in town) to fish in the Elk Refuge.

Fun Facts

  • The Jackson Hole elk migration is the longest herd migration of elk in the lower 48 states. 
  • The National Elk Refuge boasts the worlds largest winter concentration of elk 
  • Originally, the Jackson elk herd was used to re-introduce elk herds across the country