Wyoming's National Parks
There's more than skiing in Jackson Hole. Check out our National Parks!
Some compare Jackson Hole and the surrounding area to the Serengeti, with rare wildlife so plentiful and magnificent throughout. Whatever your activity you are bound to spot something special and surprising as you explore.
Yellowstone National Park
Welcome to the first National Park in the United States, and possibly the world! President Ulysses S. Grant signed the law that granted Yellowstone its National Park status in 1872. With 2.2 million acres of gorgeous, varied and epic landscapes, rare animals roaming free, explosive waterfalls, and pristine lakes, there is always something new to see.
Yellowstone National Park, in addition to the lakes, rivers, waterfalls and geysers is also home to the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent - which is why half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone.
Within Yellowstone Park, you'll find animals ranging from bison and elk - who are free ranging in the park - to grizzly bears and wolves. In fact, Yellowstone's bison herd is the largest and oldest public herd in the US! And when it comes to flora, this is an ideal location to see more than 1,700 specials of trees and other plants that are native to the park. There are dozens of flowering plant species in Yellowstone, including the Yellowstone Sand Verbena which is only found in Yellowstone National Park.
While you are in Yellowstone National Park, be sure to visit the truly amazing sights, including Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone Lake, Tower Falls, the Yellowstone Caldera, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You can enlist our adventure specialists to help map your journey or hire one of our preferred guides to help you as you explore this incredible world, just 60 miles to our north.
Grand Teton National Park
Only 10 miles from Yellowstone National Park and part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Grand Teton National Park is quite different from Yellowstone. Made up of 310,000 acres, the park is comprised primarily of the 40 mile long Teton Range and the northern sections of the Jackson Hole valley. Originally created as a national park in 1929, the park ranges in elevation from 6,320 feet above sea level soaring all the way to 13,770 feet!
In Grand Teton, you'll find not only the majestic mountains, but also meadows awash in wildflowers in the summer, whitewater rapids that will test your skills, lakes made for swimming and, of course, the Snake River with it's amazing fishing opportunities.
While you're here, you'll also witness the breadth of wildlife - coyotes, bison, grey wolves, bald eagles, elk and black bears, to name just a few. Keep your camera ready for all the things you'll see!
We’re less than a mile from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, home to the dramatic jagged Teton mountain range, countless stunning vistas, lakes, rivers, and hikes that will inspire and thrill you at every turn. You’re likely to see moose and many other rare animals as you explore and play in this dazzling park.
Some of the things to be sure to do at Grand Teton National Park include kayaking, fly fishing, hiking and camping.
National Elk Refuge
Created in 1912 to protect and provide sanctuary for the elk, the National Elk Refuge is home to the largest elk herd in the world, around 11,000 currently. When the park first opened, the elk herd numbered almost 25,000. Every year, the elk migrate from other locations in Wyoming and Montana to the Refuge – some elk will migrate up to 60 miles!
The Refuge is nearly 25,000 acres, made up of meadows and marshy valley floors. In addition to the elk, in the Elk Refuge, you'll also find bison, trumpeter swans, bald eagles and wolves. The swans live in the park year-round, so you can be sure to see them any time of year!
The National Elk Refuge winds along the perimeter of the town of Jackson, and offers winter sleigh rides and summer tours that let you get “this close!” to these majestic creatures. The park is quite seasonal, with specific things to look for each season. Here are some ideas:
Winter: Look out for the elk who are wintering over on the available native vegetation (with the occasional supplement from the Refuge staff). Also, keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep!
Spring: By this point, the elk will have shed their antlers, so see if you want get a photo of the velvety new growth. Also, elk calves tend to be born in spring, so keep an eye out for them as well.
Summer: This is a great season for birds in the Refuge, including songbirds, ducks and blue heron! The elk will be in the mountains during the summer, avoiding the heat.
Fall: This is elk breeding season, so set your camera to record a video of the elk's mating sounds! It's said they sound like they're bugeling!
Some compare Jackson Hole and the surrounding area to the Serengetti, with rare wildlife so plentiful and magnificent throughout. Whatever your activity you are bound to spot something special and surprising as you explore.