Sleigh Ride Offers Chance to See Hundreds of Elk in Utah

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You can take a sleigh ride that gets you close to as many as 600 wild elk.

The rides are available four days a week at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area.

On Dec. 9, more than 100 elk were at the WMA. Now that winter weather has arrived, more elk should be visiting the ranch soon.

Hardware Ranch is 17 miles east of Hyrum. Its winter elk viewing season begins Dec. 18. The WMA offers the following during its winter season:

Sleigh rides

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Utah's state mammal by taking a sleigh ride through a herd of up to 600 Rocky Mountain elk.

The sleigh rides last 20 to 30 minutes. They wind through the center of the elk herd and make occasional stops so you can get a perfect photograph.

During the rides, the sleigh drivers share the history of the ranch and explain why the elk behave like they do. They're also happy to answer questions you might have.

The sleighs are pulled by a team of large breed draft horses. If snow conditions get poor, the sleighs can be converted into wagons.

Visitor center

In addition to the sleigh rides, the Hardware Ranch WMA also operates a visitor center. The center has interactive wildlife displays and staff who can answer your questions.

When it's open

The WMA's winter season should run until March 15. The sleighs are running and the visitor center is open during the following days and times:

  • * Friday noon to 5 p.m.
  • * Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • * Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • * Monday noon to 5 p.m.

The WMA will be closed on Dec. 25.

If you want to take a ride through the elk herd, you must buy a ticket at the visitor center before 4:30 p.m. The last sleigh ride leaves at 4:30 p.m.

The sleigh rides cost $5 for those nine years of age and older, and $3 for those four to eight years old. Children three years of age and younger can ride for free.

How to get there

The Hardware Ranch WMA is located at mile marker 22 on SR-101 in Blacksmith Fork Canyon. The ranch is about 115 miles north of Salt Lake City (about a two-hour drive). It's about 17 miles east of Hyrum and 22 miles southeast of Logan.

Good lodging, food and entertainment are readily available in Cache Valley, within 45 minutes of the ranch. The roads up Blacksmith Fork Canyon are usually plowed and sanded by noon each day.

For more information about the Hardware Ranch WMA, call (435) 753-6206 or visit hardwareranch.com on the Web.

Hardware Ranch is a wildlife management area owned and operated by the Division of Wildlife Resources. It provides important big game winter range for elk, deer and moose.