National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides
Experience the National Elk Refuge From A Sleigh
Let National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides take you on an incredible adventure. When you climb into a horse drawn sleigh that takes you for a ride onto the National Elk Refuge, you will find yourself in the middle of a western adventure unlike any other. This century long tradition continues to be a one of a kind wildlife activity. It’s an amazing and exciting way to discover first hand new things about the area’s wildlife. As you venture across the Refuge to the sounds of snow crunching beneath the horses’ feet, you will encounter sights that can only be found on the National Elk Refuge.
History, Facts and Fun
As you climb onto your sleigh, you will meet your guide. They don’t just drive the horses. Guy or girl, your driver is a wealth of information and amazing facts. Come with questions and get ready for an interactive experience. Learn about how the National Elk Refuge came to be and why it is important still today. Fascinating facts about the elk themselves are shared as you sit just feet away from these majestic animals. Questions you never thought about before suddenly become relevant. How is the refuge managed today? How do the elk interact with the other animals on the National Elk Refuge? Antlers, life span, migration, baby elk (called calves), the rut, history, management pros and cons, etc. You name the topic or ask the question. The open air of the National Elk Refuge on a sleigh is the perfect setting for questions and answers that will take your breath away.
You are surrounded by some of Wyoming’s most scenic landscapes including the Grand Tetons. Each ride every day is unique with the unlimited combinations of things to see. This adventure is for all ages and will be remembered as a highlight of your visit to the Jackson Hole area with memories that will last forever.
Largest Migrating Elk Herd in North America
As the snow comes the elk do, too. Here in Jackson Hole, you will have the opportunity to see thousands of elk that make the National Elk Refuge their home for the winter season. And the National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides takes you right to the heart of the action.
More Than Elk…
You may also encounter other wildlife such as eagles, coyotes, foxes, badgers, bison, deer, wolves, as well as trumpeter swans, ducks, geese and a variety of other birds. Each ride is unique and you never know what you will see next. Keep your camera ready…
National Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride 2022-2023 Season
|Children (Age 5-12):||$20|
|Toddlers & Infants (Age 4 & Under)||Free|
*gratuity for sleigh driver/guide not included
Private sleigh rides are available upon request.
Tickets are purchased in the parking lot of the National Elk Refuge & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 N. Cache St. in Jackson from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm during sleigh ride season. Look for the white trailer.
Click for Google Maps directions.
Shuttles depart from visitor center parking lot every 20-30 minutes.
Conditions permitting. Please call for current information.
Closed Christmas Day (December 25th)
New shuttles depart from visitor center parking lot every 20-30 minutes.
BLANKETS NO LONGER PROVIDED
Reservations are available but not required.
During holiday times reservations are highly recommended.
Please show up 30 minutes before scheduled ride time. All times are approximate.
Any group or individual cancelling their reservation within 48 hours of the original confirmed date will be charged the full price of the ticket(s).
National Elk Refuge & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center
532 N. Cache St.
Jackson, WY 83001
We sell the tickets out of a white trailer in the visitor center parking lot. Please come check in there 30 minutes before your scheduled ride time. From there, you will ride the shuttle down to where you load on the sleigh.
National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides – FAQs
When is the best time of day to see the elk?
Depends on what you’re after. Typically, the warmest part of the day is between 11 am to 2 pm. As far as elk viewing goes, it varies each day, sometimes hourly. Often in the morning, the elk are up and grazing. In the early afternoon, they will lay down. In the evening, they will begin grazing again. If they are being fed that day, they tend to group together to eat in the morning. Once the feed is gone, they will spread out throughout the day. However, they are wild animals. Every day can be different and there is no way to guarantee what they will be doing at any particular time. Weather factors can also change elk behavior.
When do the elk shed their antlers?
The bulls will begin shedding their antlers the end of February, continuing throughout March. A few younger bulls may keep their antlers into April.
When are elk on the Refuge?
Elk begin coming on the National Elk Refuge throughout November in small numbers. More continue to come in December until the amount levels off throughout January and February. When spring comes to the valley the elk begin leaving, usually beginning sometime in March/April. The elk come to the Refuge as the snow comes to the higher elevations. They follow the melting snow back up in the spring. The migration times can vary depending on the severity and length of the winter. There are no elk on the Refuge during the summer.
The only fence on the Refuge is along the town of Jackson and along the highway. The rest of the boundaries are open so they can come and go as they please.
Can I bring my pet?
No. It is an open sleigh. Other animal scents can disturb the elk. If a dog barks, it would scare the elk causing them to run. Everything we do needs to be low impact on the elk. Since the elk are wild, there is no saying what they will do to another animal that jumps out of the sleigh.
Can I bring a thermos of coffee, tea, etc.?
No food or drinks are allowed on the rides. Everything we do needs to be low impact on the elk. Foreign scents or foods can bother the animals.
How many can fit on a sleigh?
Roughly 16 adults. Snow levels/pulling conditions might impact the number of people allowed in each sleigh.
Do you ever have to close due to weather?
Occasionally, but not often. If there are any concerns, please contact us that day to confirm we are still running.
Is the Refuge part of the National Parks system?
No. The parks and refuge systems are two different organizations with different purposes. Therefore, a Parks Pass is not valid for a sleigh ride. The National Elk Refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
When are the elk fed?
Feeding of the elk is determined by the National Elk Refuge and the State of Wyoming. If feeding does occur, it is typically done in the morning by Refuge personnel.
Where do the proceeds from the ticket sales go?
The Refuge’s share of the ticket price does not go to feeding. It goes to education, maintenance, etc.