Located at the beautiful valley floor between the Tetons and the Snake River, it's hard to find a more perfect location for experiencing wildlife than Jackson Hole. We're home to some of the most incredible collections of American animals available, from dominant predators to majestic herds, and everything in between. If you're ready to get out and see nature in motion, here are just some of the wildlife you can expect to see on your trip.
Both black bears and grizzly bears call the land surrounding Jackson Hole home. Did you know that black bears are primarily forest creatures? It's true – you are more likely to spot these creatures between the tree trunks.
Grizzly bears, on the other hand, tend to be out in the open, wandering open meadows and exploring the valley or river.
The Gray Wolf was once very rare in the United States, and were on the endangered species list in the 1970s. However, restoration efforts proved successful, and now thriving wolf management programs in Wyoming are used to make sure the population doesn't grow out of control. This beautiful hunter may be difficult to see in the shadows, but is easy to spot if it ever emerges to hunt, explore, or simply look for a drink of water.
The playful river otter is often engaged in exploration the river and searching for new food. These otters build burrows near the water with their unique feet that are both webbed and clawed. They can be seen rippling through the water or dashing through the river grasses.
The Blue Heron tends to stalk shallow waters or soar low over the river looking for food. They often stand in the same spot all day, silent and beautiful sentinels known for their extra-long, malleable necks and beautiful, stormy-sky coloring.
There's no mistaking a Trumpeter Swan, even from a distance. This graceful creature has the pure white plumage of most swans, but with a bill that turns dark black and really sets the bird apart. This is another animal that nearly when extinct but is now back in very healthy numbers.
If you see a collection of sticks damming up part of the river, the beaver is probably responsible. These river rodents are bulkier than otters and, of course, have their famous broad, flattened tails. They may create ponds with their dams, but when it comes to food they prefer tree bark, so watch for strips of bark eaten off of trees.
There is absolutely no mistaking the majestic elk for its far smaller cousin, the deer. These large animals are far more impressive – and the bulls have much more impressive sets of antlers that they sport. Elk tend to drop their antlers in March and April after they are no longer needed for mating. Jackson Hole is home to seven different herds of elk, which can number between 10,000 and 20,000 in total. That's a lot of elk!
In no place in America have buffalo lasted so long as the Greater Yellowstone area and surrounding ecosystems. Even today there are few places as safe for the herds of buffalo, which can stretch to the hundreds as they make their way across meadows or splash down to the water for a drink and a bath.
From a distance, a Rocky Mountain Coyote may look like a fox, dog, or even a wolf. However, these pack creatures are really somewhere in between. They tend to blend in well with the environment with coats colored white, gray, brown, black, and mixtures of all those colors, but you can still see them loping across the fields and investigating new events – coyotes tend to be a curious bunch. In early morning or late evening you may hear their excited, yapping pack calls as they go out for an adventure.
The great thing about nature and all these incredible creatures is that they're here waiting for you. If you're ready to come see the wildlife in its natural habitat, then book a scenic river tour at Mad River Boat Trips today. There's no limit to the wildlife you can find in just one trip!