One of the great pleasures of exploring the least populous state in the country is the intimacy of the view. Winter only enriches the opportunity to experience wildlife in its most unfiltered of settings, where the quietude of the landscape is so immense, the soft sound of snowflakes pillowing upon the ground can still be heard between the rhythmic exhalations of steam from a buffalo’s snout. Within this environment, the exotic and fantastical only swell in mythical stature the longer we train our eyes upon them. This is wildlife at its most raw and beautiful. Absorb every moment in its fullest.
Even the most boundless of imaginations would be stunned by the sheer vastness of the largest elk herd on Earth. By current estimates, the Jackson Elk Herd protected within this sanctuary is numbered at more than 11,000, an arresting sight for even the most worldly of wildlife enthusiasts. Yet the National Elk Refuge holds more than its name implies, playing home to everything from bighorn sheep and pronghorn to a herd of buffalo more than a thousand-head strong.
There may not be a more appropriate setting for experiencing Mother Nature’s most magnificent species than Yellowstone. The winter landscape creates a dramatic aura around creatures hardly lacking of such: moose, elk, bison, and big horn sheep, to name a few. Visitors can access the park via guided snowmobile tour, or by more aerobic means such as cross-country skis or snowshoes.