Local — Wyoming’s Winter Wonderland
December delivered all of the winter weather variables to Jackson Hole: short days, long nights, frigid temperatures, icy wind, and snow. Winter became official with the Solstice on December 21, 2020. We are happy to be out on our cross country skis and snowshoes sharing the magic of Wyoming’s winter wonderland with locals and visitors once again.
Local — Wildlife
Animals remained on the move to winter territories that offer shelter and food. Grizzly 399 continued the search for extra calories for herself and her four cubs before their winter hibernation. Once they settle in, they will not be seen until spring. As more snow accumulates, nature quiets for the season. Learn more about their hibernation and denning »
As a difficult year draws to a close, we are hit with yet another blow when officials confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a female elk in Grand Teton National Park. This prion disease is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disorder which causes brain damage in members of the deer family. According to the CDC, “Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.” Finding this disease among our local elk population causes great concern due to the high concentration of animals on the feed grounds. The outlook does not look good if CWD spreads through our native herds as there is no cure. Read more »
Regional — Don’t Poach the Powder!
Winter wildlife closures are in effect from December 1st through 8:00 a.m. on May 1st of each year, unless otherwise noted by a special order. Winter wildlife closures are designed to protect critical wildlife habitat. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department manages these Wildlife Habitat Management Areas in order to protect native species from human disturbance.
Winter is the most stressful season for members of the deer family as they lose most of their food sources and rely primarily on fat reserves to survive until spring. Please be respectful and make sure to give all wildlife space. Causing animals to move due to your presence requires them to burn more calories which can be detrimental to their survival. Know the regulations in areas that you want to explore. Read more »
Do not take lightly small misdeeds,
Believing they can do no harm;
Even a tiny spark of fire
Can set alight a mountain
— Tibetan teacher
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
— Winston Churchill
What’s in the Woods (field notes)
12/6- valley inversion
12/13 (Highway 22) bald eagle on power pole
12/13- (North Highway 89/19) bison near Triangle X
12/15 (Swan Valley, Idaho) numerous trumpeter swans
12/15 (Teton Pass) bull moose crosses highway, browsing on bushes
12/16 fresh snow in the valley
12/18 (Taggert) bull moose
12/23 (Cache Creek) herd of mule deer
12/29 (Wilson, WY) young moose without mom
12/31 (Gros Ventre River) trumpeter swans, bald eagle, ravens, elk, moose in the distance
As snow accumulates, options become endless for fun and play. A great local resource for trail information is JH Nordic. If you are near town, explore Cache Creek or Game Creek for walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing adventure. Main trails in Grand Teton National Park can be quite busy so I would recommend traveling north for more solitude. Two Ocean and Emma Matilda Lakes are beautiful trails to explore off the beaten path.
Please note wildlife closures and leash laws for dogs when adventuring in and around Jackson Hole. Be prepared for winter weather, know your route, be avalanche aware in the mountains, and always let someone know your plan. Happy trails!