Sleigh rides to view elk on the WMA will begin Friday, Dec. 1, and will be offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this winter from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The Hardware Wildlife Education Center will also be open at the same time the sleigh rides are running.
Update: As of Dec. 1, elk have not arrived on the meadow below the Hardware Wildlife Education Center where the sleigh rides are held. Most of the elk herd is about ½-mile away from the meadow, and can be seen from the education center using binoculars or a spotting scope. On the opening day of the sleigh rides, conditions at Hardware WMA were foggy and visibility was poor. Please call 435-753-6206 for updated information.
Hardware Wildlife Management Area — located at the top of Blacksmith Fork Canyon in northern Utah — provides habitat supporting a variety of wildlife species, as well as public access for wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.
From Dec. 1 to Feb. 11, the Wildlife Education Center at Hardware WMA will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During open hours, visitors can access the Education Center and two outside viewing areas to observe the elk.
Scenic, 180-degree vistas from the Education Center provide visitors with a bird's-eye view of the big meadow below and excellent wildlife photography opportunities. On days when the Education Center is closed, elk viewing is possible from the WMA parking lots.
Recreational and educational activities
In addition to the wildlife around the Hardware Wildlife Education Center, fishing opportunities abound. Licensed anglers can catch several trout species in the nearly 15 miles of streams and rivers on the WMA (anglers 12 years of age and older must have a valid Utah fishing or combination license).
At the Education Center, there are opportunities to learn about elk and other wildlife species through an assortment of exhibits, displays and activities. A new "All About Elk" exhibit will be available to see in the center's habitat room. Fun activities for families will be held in the center at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Each activity runs about 30 minutes.
Horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides on the WMA are offered in the winter months as well, and are a unique opportunity to see elk up close and in their natural habitat.
If you are a teacher or school group interested in learning more about year-round educational opportunities at Hardware WMA, find more details here.
Keeping elk herds healthy
During the winter months, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources feeds between 500 and 600 Rocky Mountain elk in the big meadow near Hardware's Wildlife Education Center each day. The grass hay used to feed the elk — approximately 300 tons — is grown on the WMA throughout the summer.
Also during the winter, DWR employees use the WMA's trapping facilities to capture some of the elk before weighing them and attaching ear tags. The DWR uses the ear tags to identify individual elk and study population characteristics. We also test a representative sample of elk each year for brucellosis and, occasionally, tuberculosis.