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Sleigh rides that take you among elk herds in Wyoming, Utah.

Thousands of elk huddled together, foraging for food or just at rest in the snow, provide both an awesome sight and a heart-tugging reminder of how tough life can be in the wild. You can witness the spectacle each winter in Wyoming and Utah on horse-drawn sleigh rides.

In Wyoming, the nation's largest herd--some 7,000 Rocky Mountain elk--occupies a 24,000-acre national elk refuge on the northern fringe of the town of Jackson. Here the animals spend their winters, coming down from summer range in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and Bridger-Teton National Forest to the north and east.

While many of these are proud and handsome animals, others simply look cold. Their diet here includes grasses unearthed from the snowy fields, plus alfalfa hay pellets--a diet supplement provided by the federal government.

Sleighs pull you into one of several feeding areas for a closer look and some picture taking. Rides begin northeast of town; follow E. Broadway until it ends at Refuge Road, then turn left and continue 4 miles to a primitive log visitor center. There you can purchase tickets ($5 adults, $2.50 ages 6 to 12), see photographs and text displays about the herd, and watch a 10-minute slide show. The 30- to 45-minute rides depart frequently between 10 and 4 daily. For more information, call (307) 733-9212.

In Utah, the state operates a wildlife refuge for 300 to 600 elk. Called Hardware Ranch Game Management Area, the refuge is about a 2-hour drive north of Salt Lake City. December 28 through February 17, you can take free 15-minute rides (maybe longer on weekdays if fewer visitors come) into the midst of the herd. The visitor center has more information about the elk. Hours are 1 to 4 weekdays, 10 to 4 weekends and holidays.

From Interstate 15 at Brigham City, take U.S. Highway 91 northeast 20 miles. At State 101 (Blacksmith Fork Canyon Road), head east to Hyrum, then continue 16 miles to the refuge. For more information, call (801) 245-3131.
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Article Type:Directory
Date:Jan 1, 1986
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