Hyrum, UT – You and your family can participate in several outdoor activities at this year’s Elk Festival. You might even have a chance to take a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride through the middle of a bunch of wild elk!
The festival will be held at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area on Saturday, Dec. 17. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Except for a fee to ride a horse-dawn sleigh or wagon through the meadow at the WMA ($5 for those 9 years of age or older, or $3 for those
3 to 5 years old), all of the festival activities are free.
You can reach the WMA by traveling 18 miles east of Hyrum on state Route 101.
“You don’t have to travel all the way to the North Pole to see Rudolph this year,” says Marni Lee, assistant manager at the Hardware Ranch WMA. “Instead, come to the ranch and see his cousins — Rocky Mountain elk.”
Making Christmas ornaments using sagebrush, bitterbrush and other plants found at the WMA are among the activities your children can participate in. “We’ll also teach you how to turn a pinecone into a bird feeder,” Lee says. “And your kids can paint their very own replica of a fish.”
Whether you’ll see some elk is still in question.
On Dec. 8, about 100 elk were on the benches above the meadow where the WMA holds its wagon and sleigh rides. “We’re hoping the elk will come into the meadow before the festival starts,” Lee says. “If they do, you’ll be able to take a wagon or sleigh ride through the middle of the herd.”
Lee encourages you to bring some binoculars and to dress for all types of weather. “We will host the event,” she says, “even if it snows.”
On your way to the ranch, you can enjoy the scenic drive up Blacksmith Fork Canyon. Food is not available at the ranch, but you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat it in the WMA’s lunch room.
Sleigh rides start Dec. 16
If you want to go on a sleigh ride or a wagon ride, you must buy your ticket at the visitor center by 4:30 p.m.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the sleigh rides will not be running and the visitor center will not be open. You can still bring your binoculars and view the elk from a distance, though.