Utah DWR hosting sleigh rides through hundreds of elk

Nov 17, 2023, 8:00 PM

sleigh rides at the Hardware WMA...

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plans to host sleigh rides through a herd of elk starting in December. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — What are your plans this holiday season? Does it include dashing through the snow? On a one-horse open sleigh? O’er the fields you go, laughing all the way? If so, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has got you covered — at least when it comes to the sleigh part. It plans to host sleigh rides through a herd of elk starting in December.

According to a press release, Haviland’s Old West Adventures will offer horse-drawn sleigh rides every weekend from Dec. 1, 2023, to Feb. 11, 2024. Each ride will last around 40 minutes. Rides will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mark Hadley with the DWR said these sleigh rides will take place at the Hardware Wildlife Management Area in Cache County. It will go through a herd of between 600 and 650 elk. The sleigh rides will also offer a chance to get “really close” to elk, according to Hadley.

“The sleigh will stop from time to time and the individual who’s driving the sleigh will take some time and … teach you about elk and about the area up there in Cache County,” he said.

This is an annual event held by the DWR. However, this year, according to the press release, groups of 25 people or more can make reservations for a sleigh ride Monday through Thursday. Those wishing to do this can call Haviland’s Old West Adventures at 435-744-3229.

“If your kids are wanting to see Santa’s reindeer this holiday season, you can provide the next best thing by visiting the Hardware WMA and seeing hundreds of their cousins,” DWR Hardware Wildlife Education Center Director Marni Lee said in the press release. “Elk and reindeer are both members of the Cervidae family.”

Not just sleigh rides

Beyond the sleigh rides, there are plenty of other activities from making Christmas ornaments out of sage brush to letting the kids see Santa Claus.

“Santa Claus will be up there until Christmas Eve,” Hadley said. “He’ll be up there greeting people … at the sleigh line.”

Patrons will also be able to get food. According to Hadley, Haviland’s Old West Adventures will have a food trailer set up next to the sleigh line.

After going on a sleigh ride, you can warm up at the Hardware Wildlife Education Center.

“There’s no cost to go into the education center,” Hadley said. “And we have an exhibit there called ‘All About Elk,’ … There’s all kinds of cool information about elk and … their biology, their lifecycle and all of that kind of information.”

Hadley said the education center also has a room that serves as a lookout to the meadow that the herd of Elk grazes in.

Sleigh rides cost $10 for those 9 years of age or older and $4 for kids 4 to 8 years old. Kids 3 years old or younger can ride for free. Tickets will only be sold at the education center.

Visit the DWR website for more information.

Allessandra Harris contributed to this story.

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Utah DWR hosting sleigh rides through hundreds of elk