Wildlife Watching in Jackson Hole
Most people live their whole lives with squirrels and pigeons as their surrounding wildlife. A trip to a national park like Grand Teton or Yellowstone is an opportunity to see wildlife that thus far has only existed in your imagination or on your TV.
Visitors to Jackson Hole have the opportunity to see bear, moose, elk and much more. Watching a moose eat lunch or seeing a grizzly bear lead her cub down a path is truly thrilling. Unfortunately, many visitors to Jackson are unaware of the habits and schedules of the animals they most want to see and can spend days on a futile search for wildlife. Hiring a guide or taking a wildlife safari can greatly increase your chances of animal sightings but, if seeing a specific animal is important to you, it’s best to plan your trip during the time of year when the animal is most likely to be spotted. The three most sought after wildlife sightings are bears, moose and elk.
Bears are the most sought after sighting in Jackson Hole and a special treat that not everyone is lucky enough to receive. The two main bears found in Jackson are black and grizzlies. Both types of bears are most likely to be seen in the spring, April through June, when the snow has started to melt at lower elevations. By the time summer rolls around the bears make their way back to higher elevations, which is now clear of snow. In the summer, July and August, they become a rarer sighting, but on high elevation hikes are still a common run-in. Black bears, unlike grizzlies, often return to lower elevations in the fall as they forage bushes for berries. There are a few celebrity bears in the park, notably #399 and her cubs, which stay in lower elevations and frequently can be found in the few miles surrounding Jackson Lake Lodge.
Moose seem to be every tourist’s second most desired animal sighting. Unfortunately, they are the hardest to find during Jackson’s main tourist season, from May to August. Moose love snow and colder climates, so during the winter, fall and spring, their dark bodies are often easily spotted loping through the white terrain. In the warmer months, you will most likely find them at higher, cooler elevations. As fall approaches, so does mating season, and your likelihood of finding moose out and about looking for a mate is at its height.
Elk are a yearlong attraction in Jackson. The winter months keep thousand of elk contained on the elk refuge where they are fed. You can take a sleigh ride out into the herd and get a close up view. Spring and fall are the migration time for elk and they can often be spotted along roads and trails as they make their way to and from the refuge. The summer is the most challenging time for spotting elk, but still not a rarity. You are most likely to find them on a hike in the woods where it is shady and cool. For a special thrill, elk enthusiast should visit in the fall. During mating season, the still dusk air is filled with the eerie and magical sounds of elk mating calls. Elk bugling back and forth across the valley is an experience that is not to be missed.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of nature’s most amazing animals. By timing your trip to Jackson Hole properly, you can greatly increase your chances of seeing the big, beautiful wildlife Jackson offers. While you’re at it you might just run into a bald eagle, bison or big horned sheep that also inhabit the area.
Click here to learn more about the Wildlife Safaris offered by Spring Creek Ranch