JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Tucked in
the folds of the Rocky Mountains, covered in a shining blanket of
white is the home of thousands of elk, hundreds of bison and Rocky
Mountain bighorn sheep — just a few of the animals visitors to the
Jackson Hole area can enjoy.
Bald eagles, coyotes, ravens, magpies
and other scavengers are often spotted near the many wintering
animals, making it a wildlife feast for viewers.
“I just love being out in the woods
and seeing the animals,” said Jeannie Meyer of Redding, Calif.
“The wildlife here is fantastic, the scenery and the geology of
the area is fabulous.”
Meyer, like thousand of wildlife
buffs, comes to the Jackson Hole area to enjoy the winter
Lining the road with binoculars and
spotting scopes, guests to the area view a bald eagle feeding on an
elk carcass as a winter-worn coyote tries to steal a bite of the
Magpies and ravens hop around as if
they are too full to eat, but can't stand the thought of lea
elk can be viewed by travelers along Highway 89.
ving the smorgasbord.
“It’s a real treat to be here,”
says Vincent Maxson, of Boston. "It's relaxing and beautiful
“We have mountains back home, but
they are nothing like this.”
People willing to spend the time and
drive a little have the opportunity to view wildlife from the
comfort of their vehicles.
Among the best roads for people to
take after getting to Jackson are those around the National Elk
The interior road taking the visitors
into the refuge on the east side of the area offers wildlife viewers
the opportunity to see bighorn sheep and elk up close.
There is no hiking in the area and
guests are required t
sleigh ride is a good way to view the elk in the National Elk
o stay on the roads, but with a good
pair of binoculars or a spotting scope people are able to view
dozens of animals wintering in the high mountain valley.
Those wanting to learn more about the
animals and the surrounding area can hire one of several guide
Wildlife Expeditions, managed by the
Teton Science School is one of the most popular for visitors,
offering daily wildlife tours of the area.
"Educating and teaching people
about the wildlife and the area is what I love to do," says
guide Kirsten Kapp. "We try to teach people about the animals,
their habitat and what they do in the winter to survive.
"But the most important thing we
try to teach is how to view animals in a safe way, not disturbing
them or approaching them and watching them from a safe distance
because they are wild animals."
The tours offer all the gear needed
for a day of viewing wildlife except for the clothing needed to keep
For more information on viewing
wildlife in the area, contact the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce
at (307) 733-3316 or for tour information with the Teton Science
School, call 1-888-945-3567.
There are two ways to get to Jackson.
- From Pocatello, take Interstate 15
north to Idaho Falls. Take Highway 26 out of Idaho Falls to Alpine
Junction. At Alpine take Highway 89 into Jackson. It takes two to
three hours depending on road conditions.
- Travelers can also take Interstate
15 south to the Highway 30 exchange near McCammon. Take Highway 30
east to Soda Springs and turn north on Highway 34 to the Wyoming
line. At Freedom take Highway 89 north to Alpine Junction.
This route takes roughly three hours
depending on road conditions.