The National Elk Refuge Road is a scenic, flat to rolling 2 lane dirt road that is usually snow covered in winter, and makes for a quick access, beautiful road-trail, with a chance of seeing elk and big horn sheep, as well as views of the Tetons. Consider bringing binoculars to look at wildlife, and maybe even spot a distant wolf off in the meadows of the Elk Refuge.
The Elk Refuge Road begins at the east end of Broadway, at the signed entrance to the National Elk Refuge, one of 566 National Wildlife Refuges across the US.
Note that Refuge access is restricted to open public roads and trails designated as “authorized routes.” All other foot, vehicle, bicycle, and horse travel is strictly prohibited. Dogs are permitted on leash, and restricted to the Refuge Road and approved routes at all times.
In winter, this means you must stay on the road, and only go our as far as the group of homes (Twin Creek subdivision) 3.5 miles from the entrance.
The Refuge Road is plowed by Teton County, allowing a nice fat bike ride, walk, and after regular snowfall, classic cross country ski. Pass the historic Miller Cabin on the west side of the road, with views of the Teton Range beyond. Free ranging Elk may be present on the road or in the meadows.
The National Elk Refuge administration provides a useful Winter Wildlife Viewing Guide at: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/NERWinterWildlifeViewing_web.pdf
Note: To decrease stress to wildlife, please keep a minimum distance of 25 yards from most wildlife and 100 yards from wintering elk.
At approx 1.5-2 miles, Miller Butte rises up some 500 feet above the road to its summit at 6741 feet. Look carefully for Big Horn Sheep, who live here year round. In spring, they often descend to the road to lick the salt, so give them plenty of room.
Once you reach the house subdivision at 3.5 miles, the road make a 90 degree turn to the left (north) and a closure gate prohibits further travel in the winter. Turn around and return via the same route.
(Starting May 1 at midnight, the Refuge Road on the National Elk Refuge opens to public travel beyond the county-maintained line. This allows access to the Curtis Canyon and Flat Creek Roads and the adjoining Bridger-Teton National Forest. )
Since vehicular traffic is also permitted, take care with passing vehicles, as well as Refuge feed vehicles, walkers, runners.
For further Refuge information call: 1800/344WILD