A Guide to Spotting Wildlife in Central Washington

A Guide to Spotting Wildlife in Central Washington

Central Washington is home to many beautiful species of wildlife. Diverse flora and fauna fill scenic natural destinations, offering a unique experience to guests. Learn more about the wildlife you can expect to find in Central Washington and uncover some of the best nearby locations to view them!

Central Washington Wildlife

There are a variety of animals available for viewing on a visit to Central Washington. Here is a list of some of the species you might encounter on an outdoor expedition through our natural areas:

  • Bats
  • Beavers
  • Black Bears
  • Bobcats
  • Cougars
  • Coyotes
  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Moles
  • Moose
  • Mountain Beavers
  • Mountain Goat
  • Muskrats
  • Nutria (also known as Coypu)
  • Opossums
  • Pocket Gophers
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Rabbits
  • Raccoons
  • River Otters
  • Skunks
  • Tree Squirrels
  • Canada Geese
  • Crows
  • Domestic Pigeons
  • Magpies
  • Owls
  • Robins
  • Starlings
  • Swallows
  • Wild Turkeys
  • Woodpeckers
  • Reptiles & Amphibians:
  • Frogs
  • Snakes

Washington State also has more than 3,100 vascular plant species in the state, with around 1,500 in Central Washington. Lookout for these during your visit as well to see how many different species you can identify. Just remember to leave what you find!

Central Washington's Top Destinations for Experiencing Wildlife

Central Washington offers nature-lovers and explorers of all kinds many captivating locations to view the beautiful wildlife in our region. Here are a few of the top places to check out during a weekend escape to Central Washington!

Paul Rogers Wildlife Park

Situated just east of Ellensburg is the Paul Rogers Wildlife Park. This is an incredible area to experience some wildlife, as there are many plant and animal species habitating in the lush environment. Paul Rogers Wildlife Park is well-known for its native and migratory birds, such as magpies, barn swallows, western bluebirds, and much more. Along with bird watching, you'll come across some peeling birch bark, cascading willow branches, and colorful shrubs that will make the experience all the better.

Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility

The Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility is a massive 10,800 acres, meaning you can find a wide variety of animals and plants here. On the premises, you can hike, horseback ride, and bird-watch, giving you plenty of activities to do while trying to find some unique wildlife along the way. Elk and deer are very common here so keep an eye out for them! Plus, bald eagles and golden eagles may be seen on a rare occurrence!

Oak Creek Wildlife Area

Oak Creek Wildlife Area covers over 67,100 acres in both Yakima and Kittitas County, meaning that wildlife will be aplenty here! Plantlife will include sagebrush, blue bunch wheatgrass, douglas fir, western white pine, and much more! Elk, mule deer, and mountain goats are just a few of the animals you may see along your journey here. There are plenty of upland birds, reptiles, and amphibians that inhabit this area as well.

Pack your binoculars and set off to admire wildlife in Central Washington! Just remember to Recreate Responsibly by keeping your distance and leaving what you find.

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A Guide to Spotting Wildlife in Central Washington

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A Land of Contrasts
From the mighty Columbia River to the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, Kittitas County is a premier destination for outdoor adventure, sunshine, and unique cultural offerings.
Find out more at one of our Visitor Centers:

Ellensburg, WA
609 N. Main St, Ellensburg
(888) 925-2204

Cle Elum, WA
312 W. 1st Street, Cle Elum
(509) 674-6880

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