Guide to Wildlife in Jackson Hole

Our region’s wondrous natural landscapes are enhanced by the presence of majestic bison, elk, and other local wildlife, creating awe-inspiring sights and experiences that can only be enjoyed in Jackson Hole.

Jackson Hole has the unique pleasure of being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of gorgeous national park land. From the mountains, lakes and meadows of Grand Teton National Park to the geothermal hot springs and alpine forests of Yellowstone National Park, this abundance of natural beauty hosts a diverse mix of animal life that adds to the charm of these sacred lands.

The influence of the wildlife common in and around Jackson Hole is palpable throughout the towns of Jackson and Teton Village, such as the oft-photographed elk antler arches in Jackson’s Town Square. Local wildlife themes also carry throughout each of the four hotels operated by Town Square Inns, with elk antlers, wildlife photography and other elements creating an immersive Old West lodging experience.

Wildlife Common in Jackson Hole

The region is home to hundreds of species of wildlife. Perhaps the two animals most synonymous with Jackson Hole are the aforementioned elk — thousands of which migrate to the National Elk Refuge in the winter — and bison, with Yellowstone being home the largest bison population on public land in the United States. Among the other more common animals you’re likely to encounter during your visit are moose, pronghorn, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep and grizzly and black bears.

A hawk flies through the blue skies in Yellowstone National Park with a trout in its claws.

In the lakes and rivers, anglers can fish for a variety of trout — cutthroat, brook, brown and lake — as well as chinook salmon and northern pike. Look to the skies as well, as you’re certain to spot a few of our winged residents during your visit, including bald eagles, owls, hawks, geese and smaller birds, such as the colorful western tanager.

Spotting Wildlife in Jackson Hole

The best way to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife is by joining a tour led by an expert guide, many of which are available throughout the year. Tour options include summer, fall and winter safaris into each of the national parks, as well as dog sledding tours through the Jackson Hole countryside. One of the more whimsical tour options is a sleigh ride through National Elk Refuge in the winter, where you can spot some of the up to 7,000 elk that migrate here during the winter months.

A moose with antlers walks through tall grass and brush in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

You’re also likely to spot wildlife on your own while traveling along the park roads or hiking the trails in the national parks. Some of the most popular wildlife-spotting locations in Grand Teton National Park include Oxbow Bend, where ospreys, eagles, river otters and other animals with an appetite for fish like to feast. Look for moose on the water’s edge or elk grazing nearby. If you’re fast enough, catch a glimpse of the fastest land animal on the continent, the pronghorn antelope, at Timbered Island, or cruise along the Snake River on a raft to spot elk, bison, bald eagles and great blue herons.

Two bison run in a grassy clearing alongside a riverbed in Yellowstone National Park.

In Yellowstone National Park, look for bears, wolves, and large herds of bison near the Hayden and Lamar valleys, moose near the northeast and south entrances, and mule deer, elk, and more bison around the Mammoth Hot Springs. Bison and elk have also been spotted around the park’s signature geyser, Old Faithful.

It is always important to observe the wildlife safely and from a distance, as to avoid any danger to yourself or the animals. If hiking or biking, always be equipped with bear spray or other deterrents.

Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow

Town Square Inns has partnered with Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow to protect Wyoming’s wildlife and landscapes.

When it comes to wildlife in the United States, nothing compares to the bison, moose, and elk of Wyoming. Wildlife is one of the main attractions of Jackson Hole and the Town Square Inns is giving back so future generations can continue to enjoy Wyoming wildlife and landscapes.

Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow inspires businesses and individuals who depend on Wyoming's wildlife to help fund projects that make a difference. Visit Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow to learn more.

Hotels in Downtown Jackson Hole

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