Central Washington

Wildlife Viewing

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.

This trail requires a long snowshoe trek before traversing the narrow trail to the summit. If you’re up for setting up camp in the snowy forest, Thorp Mountain Trail is a place of calming beauty. The route climbs steeply at times, along both the road and the trail, but generally the snowshoeing is easy.

Umtanum Canyon is an 8-mile out and back trail located near Ellensburg, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail. It’s a great location to find golden eagles and other birds.

A favorite low impact high desert trail is Umtanum Creek, located south of Ellensburg inside the Yakima Canyon. The trail is listed as an important bird area by the Washington State Audubon Society. The Umtanum Ridge is just west of the trailhead to Umtanum Falls where cross-country skiing is available during the winter.

Wenas Wildlife Area offers creek hikes and big views of rolling ridges and the Yakima River Canyon just south of Ellensburg. This wildlife reserve includes several types of habitat, from semi-arid shrub-steppe and grassland to pine forest. The area supports a variety of bird life and gives the area an outstanding reputation for bird watching.

The Naneum Ridge State Forest is 71,000-acres and has good accessibility to 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.