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National Elk Refuge, Jackson

4.4
#1 of 13 in Parks in Jackson Hole
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
The National Elk Refuge is located in the U.S. state of Wyoming and was created in 1912 to protect habitat and provide sanctuary for one of the largest elk (also known as the wapiti) herds on Earth. A total of 24,700 acres, the refuge borders the town of Jackson, Wyoming on the northeast while Bridger-Teton National Forest is to the east and Grand Teton National Park borders the refuge to the north. It is home to an average of 7,500 elk each winter. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior.Elk migrate from as far away as southern Yellowstone National Park and historically migrated to the present location of the refuge and further south into southwestern Wyoming during the fall, wintering on grassy plains that were both sheltered from weather and maintained less snowfall or snow depth than surrounding lands. During the spring, the herd would follow the retreating snows and growing grasses back into the Yellowstone National Park region. The original size of the elk herd has been estimated to have been in excess of 25,000. By the end of the 19th century, the town of Jackson had developed on important winter range and blocked off some of the migration routes used by the elk. The elk herd was severely reduced in size due to the hostile climate and lack of food supply, in addition to hunting pressures by both homesteaders and surrounding Native American tribes (Bannock). A movement to protect the remaining herd and establish greater numbers was commenced in the early 1900s. When the Miller homestead was sold for $45,000 to the federal government, the refuge was established.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,266 reviews
Google
4.5
  • This is an excellent place where elk roam, and where they created a place for them to grow and reproduce when they were waning in numbers.  more »
  • Not much to see this time of year but tour was very informative. We saw a falcon and antelope. A few other birds. I bet it is amazing with 9,000 elk there in the winter.  more »
  • Magnificent opportunity to go out close and see those incredible animals. We spent time at the visitor center learning the history and the mission. Very thankful for the conservation initiative. Very ...  more »
Google
  • This refuge is awesome. I loved every minute I spt there. Make sure you visit the Jackson Hole visitors center to get a lesson on Elk and check out their overlook.
  • A great stop. The ranger at the visitor center gave us a map of the North West area picked out all the places to see. She gave us very good advice.
  • We visited in late spring after the elk had all left the refuge for the greater Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone. However, the guide in the Miller house was informative and friendly and the grounds were quiet and serene with an chance to see pronghorn elk and a myriad of cute little rodents. A bonus is access to the side of the valley (hole) away from the Tetons. We took a short drive up that side of the valley that afforded spectacular views of the Teton mountain range.
  • It was beautiful and the volunteered were very informative and educate you on the period and the home. But we didn't see not one elk 😟
  • Gorgeous visitors center. The people who work there were extremely helpful.

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