Home Lifestyle The Lakota Wolf Preserve is What Game of Thrones Dreams Are Made Of

The Lakota Wolf Preserve is What Game of Thrones Dreams Are Made Of

by Jennifer Tripucka
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Every now and again, it feels nice to leave the city behind and escape to a place that feels remote and back to nature, complete with wildlife. And when it comes to those such places, a small hidden gem in Warren County is the ideal spot, especially if you’re a GOT fan and love yourself some Ghost + John Snow. This magical place is called the Lakota Wolf Preserve. It’s a privately-owned wolf preserve and photography center in Columbia, New Jersey — and the perfect little day trip from Hoboken or Jersey City/NYC to enjoy an afternoon of nature, and of course, wolves. Here’s more about the Lakota Wolf Preserve:


Image via @lakotawolfpreserve

The Drive

Unfortunately, public transportation is not your friend for this trip, as the preserve is in the middle of nowhere {not a bad thing}. Your best bet is definitely by car. It’s about an hour twenty from the NYC metro.

lakota wolf preserve

The Preserve

The Lakota Wolf Preserve was started by owners Jim Stein and Becky Mace, who have raised and cared for all of the animals — about 20 total — on their 10-acre property. In their pack, they have four different packs of wolves, and five other animals {bobcats, foxes, and a lynx}, who are all free to roam on the acres of property in their respective areas.

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lakota wolf

The day we went {last Sunday}, it snowed and really brought us GOT vibes — not to mention one of the wolves is named Khaleesi. Yes, there are fences, but the wolves are free to roam and have been raised by the owners since they were babies. This is done, we were told, so that they are “accepted” into the pack. If they are full-grown, it’s almost impossible to bring them in.

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lakota wolves

When you drive up, there’s a large building for checking in and buying tickets {they’re $15 per adult — and all the money goes towards care for the wolves}. There are hiking trails if it’s nice out as well as campgrounds, so dress in comfy shoes and appropriate attire, as it’s pretty rustic {bc we’re in the woods, after all}.

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The Tour

As far as visiting goes, the preserve accepts tours twice per day on weekends {no reservations allowed but highly recommend arriving 30 minutes to an hour before the tour times – and calling ahead to make sure they’re open – they’ll leave the info on their voicemail}. The times are 10:30 and 3:00PM, but it can vary aka definitely call, because if you come at any other time, you will be turned away. On weekdays, it’s reservations only and they’re closed on Mondays, so would highly recommend making plans ahead of time either way.

Once you pay for the tour, you’ll have the option to take the 10-minute bus ride up to the preserve with the group OR hike, if it’s nice out. We opted for the bus since it had just started snowing. Important to also note that weather can cancel tours as it’s quite an uphill climb for the busses, so definitely call ahead if you’re not sure.

lakota wolf trip

And boy, was it magical — especially with snow! The wolves are relatively domesticated, so they actually came up to the fence to be fed treats by Jim and Becky. The owners shared a wealth of information about the wolves: what they eat, their habits, and strength. One thing that really stuck out — a dog’s jaws are about 700lbs of strength when they bite, and a wolf’s jaws are about 1700lbs of strength, so safe to say behind the fence is the best place to be, even though Jim + Becky were able to pet them of course. “Usually the wolves stay far out in the acreage, but since they know we come with treats so that they want to come near our visitors,” they shared.

lakota cats

In another area, there are several other cats + “dogs” — a Canadian lynx and southern bobcat, as well as several foxes.


^Image via @lakotawolfpreserve

There’s also a campground if you’re feeling reallllly adventurous and want to stay the night. We hear there are a lot of bears in the area, so definitely not for the faint of heart city slickers, but could be fun in the warmer months.

Here are a few of the most FAQs that we had beforehand:

Do you need to call and reserve a time?

A: On weekends, no, just make sure you get there 30 minutes minimum before the scheduled tours. They only do two per day on weekends – around 10:30AM and 3:00PM but call to confirm. On weekdays, it’s reservations only – so you must call in advance.

Can you pet the wolves?

A: Unfortunately, no one is allowed to pet the wolves, but you can get close.

How much does it cost?

A: It’s $15 per adult.

How long is the tour?

A: It’s about an hour and a half, from start to finish. And yes, you *must* go on the tour, you can’t go by yourself.

Is it worth the trip?

A: If you’re an animal lover, ABSOLUTELY. It was such a cool, unique experience! Especially when they make the wolves howl.

After your tour, the Buck Hill Brewery is a short 10 or 12-minute drive and they have delicious food and a ton of different locally brewed beers on tap. Worth a nice drive and stop after your tour.

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wolves lakota

The preserve also does tours + photography tours — and serious and amateur photographers can take advantage of privately-guided photography or video sessions around each individual wolf compound. It costs more, but you get to see the wolves even closer up.

All in all, such a magical place, especially when it snows upon arrival. Still on the hunt for John Snow, but we’ll take what we can get. For more info, click here.

Have an idea for a getaway/adventure? Email us: [email protected]!

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