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Jackson Hole is one of the best wildlife watching locations in the world. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is the only area left in the lower 48 where every species that should be here still is.
Without a doubt, the best time to see wildlife is during what locals call the “off-season:” spring and fall. These are the months that wildlife migrates, comes out of hibernation, returns to the valley floor or prepares to escape it for the summer. Jackson Hole is teeming with life. But there’s plenty to see in the summertime, too, if you know where to look. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife in peak summer months, out of the heat of the day. Don’t worry, most wildlife guides provide coffee on their early morning excursions.
You’re bound to see wildlife without even looking around here. But for the best experience, head out with a guide and take a Jackson Hole wildlife tour. On a guided Grand Teton, Yellowstone or Jackson Hole wildlife tour, you’ll be driven through the valley equipped with spotting scopes, binoculars, and even sustenance — everything you need for a successful day of wildlife viewing. Guides often have backgrounds in wildlife biology or natural history and offer an immersive, customizable, and educational experience. “It’s about providing a personalized experience,” says Tenley Thompson, a wildlife biologist and guide with EcoTour Adventures.
Take your pick from any number of Jackson’s top-notch outfitters.
No matter how harmless it looks, wildlife is wild. With or without a guide, you should follow the wild rules and give wildlife their space (remember, 25 yards from most animals, 100 yards from big predators like wolves and bears). Whether it’s a Grand Teton wildlife tour or a Yellowstone wildlife tour, different guides offer different experiences, but generally you can expect plenty of time in a comfortable car equipped with spotting scopes, binoculars, and snacks. Your guide will drive you to the best spots to see wildlife and let you take it in, from a safe distance. Some full-day or multi-day tours offer opportunities to hike and get further off the beaten path.
A good wildlife guide will have an endless supply of stories, facts, and passion to help you really connect with the local wildlife. And the more connected you are, the more inspired you’ll feel to help protect local wildlife for generations to come. An easy way to help? Spread the knowledge! Pick a fact or story that stuck with you and share it via social media. Use the hashtag #TheWildRules to help your followers both preserve and connect with local wildlife too.
In 2016, a female mule deer made history by completing the longest documented migration ever recorded. Then she did it again… and again. Every year since, the now-famous Deer has traveled some 242 miles from Wyoming’s Red Desert to Island Park, Idaho — and back. In December 2020, she made the journey with fawns. Hers is an incredible story of resilience and travel — and we know it thanks to a new campaign, Being Wild Jackson Hole.
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