A Wildlife Safari in Jackson Hole

Go into the heart of the American wilderness with an in-house biologist, and discover more outdoor activities with Four Seasons.

Apr 15, 2014
  • Wildlife Safari at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
  • Pronghorn Antelope—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Bison in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Bald Eagle—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Bighorn Ram—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Red-Tailed Hawk—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Mule Deer—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Red-Tailed Hawk—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Elk—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Scarface the Bear—Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Explore the far reaches of western Wyoming with a customized wildlife safari at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole.
Photography Tenley Thompson
One of the "Big Five," pronghorn antelope are skilled runners, capable of travelling at speeds upwards of 85 kilometres per hour (53 miles per hour).
Photography Tenley Thompson
The area around Jackson Hole, including Grand Teton National Park, is home to one of the largest concentrations of bison in the world.
Photography Tenley Thompson
Capable of soaring more than 64 kilometres per hour (40 miles per hour), bald eagles are among the rare birds guests might spot during a safari expedition.
Photography Tenley Thompson
Of the three species of Bighorn Ram, the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram is the most widespread in the U.S. with many residing in the Jackson Hole area.
Photography Tenley Thompson
Each guest is given a set of binoculars, which could help them spot a red-tailed hawk, North America's most common type of hawk.
Photography Tenley Thompson
Mule deer are an icon of the American West and are frequently seen throughout the four-hour-long expeditions.
Photography Tenley Thompson
It's easy to see why the moose, one of the largest mammals in North America and the largest species of deer, is one of the "Big Five."
Photography Tenley Thompson
National Elk Refuge, a point of exploration during each safari, is home to hundreds of elk. These massive creatures often travel in herds.
Photography Tenley Thompson
Although such sightings are rare, guests might also see bears during the safaris. Both black bears and grizzly bears reside in the region.
Photography Tenley Thompson

It’s a bright, clear morning. Our group is piled into an SUV and Tenley Thompson, a wildlife biologist and naturalist at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, is leading us to the next lookout point of our wildlife safari. The four-hour expedition takes us through Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge. Our mission is to see the “Big Five”: elk, bison, moose, pronghorn antelope and mule deer.

As she navigates the SUV, Thompson explains that she got her taste for the wild as a teenager growing up in Jackson Hole, where her family lived part time. “As soon as I received my driver’s licence,” she says, “I drove straight to the mountains.” It was there that she spotted her first wolf and first grizzly bear; she’s been tracking animals ever since. Today, the 32-year-old has carved a career out of her mountain excursions, taking Resort guests on safaris to spy the Big Five as well as coyotes, mountain lions, river otters, owls, bald eagles, and—if they’re lucky—grizzlies and wolves.

Thompson approached Four Seasons five years ago about the possibility of offering luxury wildlife safaris. By that time, she had several years’ experience as a guide in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park and worked as a wolf tracker. The resort liked her proposal, and soon she was taking visitors to the far reaches of Wyoming to spot animals in the wild, something few city dwellers like me ever experience.

“Some people come from places where humans are the biggest, baddest things out there, and live in an environment where humans are in charge,” she says. “Then they walk into an environment where they’re the least important.”

This is certainly the case in western Wyoming, an area of the U.S. known for its vast stretches of wilderness. Even though downtown Jackson is just a five-minute drive from the Elk Refuge, it feels like miles. And once you’re outside the city limits, you’re in the wild.

But that doesn’t mean the safari is all bushwhacking. In reality, it’s anything but, as most of the territory covered is on protected land and vehicles must stay on the roadways. In true Four Seasons fashion, every aspect of the adventure is luxurious, from travelling in a luxe Mercedes-Benz SUV equipped with Swarovski spotting scopes to dining on the gourmet cuisine that accompanies the tours.

Thompson’s safaris are part of the Resort’s Wild West Academy, a programme that allows adventurers of all ages to explore Jackson Hole’s vast terrain, whether you’re looking to live out childhood dreams during a full-day “how to be a cowboy” lesson or crave peace and quiet in the great outdoors on an expert-led fly fishing excursion. The safaris vary according to season, and Thompson will adjust them to the whims of each guest. The tours have proved so successful that Thompson now has a team of eight guides, most of whom also have experience working as park rangers. She also knows how to measure her own accomplishment: “When I succeed is at the end of the day when someone leaves also passionate about animals.”

Indulge with complimentary breakfast during your next stay at Four Seasons Jackson Hole, and discover more exclusive offers from Four Seasons.



4 Comments about A Wildlife Safari in Jackson Hole

  1. Gwen says:

    When is the best time of year to schedule a vacation and take this wildlife excursion?

    • Kelly Neubeiser says:

      Hi Gwen,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’ve forwarded your question on to Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole so that they can work on getting you an answer directly.

      Thanks for reading,

  2. Sandra says:

    I have heard about your excursions in the past Do you have to stay at the four seasons We are at the Teton club

    • Kelly Neubeiser says:

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for your comment! I’ve forwarded your request onto Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole so that they can work on getting a response to you directly.

      Thanks for reading,

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