In the first of a new short film series with Jungles In Paris, the travel and wildlife website offers a look into a remarkable elk refuge in Wyoming.
For humans, snowfall in Jackson Hole means time to grab the ski gear. For elk, it means time to head down from the mountains—and to rest and forage inside a 25,000-acre plot of land that’s been set aside for them for more than 100 years.
This isn’t your average elk gathering: At around 13,000 head, Jackson’s herd is the world’s largest. (Around half of them tend to inhabit the National Elk Refuge in winter, although in harsh conditions as many as 8,000 might cram in. Opportunistic eagles and coyotes follow.) The elk are protected from interloping tourists; the only way for visitors to enter the refuge is via horse-drawn sleigh, an experience not available during Yellowstone’s busy summer season, when the elks scatter.
The refuge, which is overseen by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is remarkably accessible—closer to downtown than the ski areas, in fact. And in many ways, wilder.
WHEN YOU GO
Hotel: Spring Creek Ranch, located atop a butte and a ten-minute drive outside town, is a cozy and scenic home base for the National Elk Refuge and Jackson’s other winter options. The two-bedroom condominiums (done up in understated Western-lodge style) come with a kitchen and fireplace, and the on-site restaurant, the Granary, serves up free-range bison tenderloin, Idaho trout and a hearty game stew. Wild elk roam the hotel’s 1,000-acre grounds, which can be toured via snowshoe or horse-drawn sleigh.
Flights: American Airlines offers seasonal nonstop flights to Jackson from Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth, and one-stop flights from cities including New York and Los Angeles. Visit AA.com. Other carriers also serve Jackson with nonstop flights.
Watch ‘Elk Refuge’ by Jungles in Paris above.