Central Washington

Birding

The Colockum Wildlife Area features exceptionally diverse fish and wildlife habitat that includes shrubsteppe, conifer forest, high elevation lakes, and perennial and seasonal streams. Every year, thousands enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing here.

Here you may enjoy a peaceful picnic, wade or swim in the lake, take an inner tube out in the pond, or just enjoy a little sunbathing. This is a great spot for all ages as well as for bird watching (check out the First Saturday Birdwalk at 8am each month), hiking, and biking.

The 54,070-acre L.T. Murray unit is about 15 miles west of Ellensburg. WDFW owns 39,305 acres, DNR owns 14,424 acres currently either leased to WDFW or under WDFW management and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) owns 341 acres in the Taneum drainage. Lying in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the eastern end receives less than 16 inches of precipitation, but the westside gets up to 100 inches of snow.

Naneum Ridge State Forest

The Naneum Ridge State Forest is 71,000-acres and has good accessibility hunting for both elk and deer on or around Table Mountain. The Naneum Basin/Canyon will hold a variety of animals for viewing as well. If there is early snowfall, the deer, and elk will migrate downward and will be found mostly on the south facing slopes of Cooke Canyon and Coleman Canyon.

The Cle Elum area offers many fine birding opportunities, including the freshwater marshes and ponds popularly called the “Railroad Ponds.” Also known as the Northern Pacific Ponds, these were formed when railroad construction impounded some of the waters of the Yakima River.

The Quilomene area is located north of Vantage, south of Wenatchee and east of Ellensburg. The area offers year-round habitat for a variety of wildlife including Rocky Mountain elk, California bighorn sheep, mule deer and coyote. The area also supports birds such as quail, chukar, grouse, hawks, eagles, and many songbirds.

This loop is one of many great birding locations of The Great Washington State Birding Trail. Developed by the National Audubon Society — this loop goes through Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Vantage and offers a variety of birding locations, each with different species of birds.