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Wildlife Viewing On The Cascade Loop

All manner of animals live in the natural areas surrounding the Cascade Loop. What you see during your trip will depend on the season, time of day, weather, and how far from the roadway you explore. Animal behavior varies.

Enjoy looking for and photographing wildlife but be alert and safe! Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, do not attempt selfies with critters, and do not offer them your food. 

The Cascade Loop begins and ends in regions close to Puget Sound (Snohomish River Valley, Skagit Valley/Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island). From the car, you may spot seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl, including the tufted puffin, bufflehead, western sandpiper, bald eagle, pigeon guillemot, common loon, harlequin duck, rhinoceros auklet, cormorants, scoters, and grebes. Get out of the car for a chance to see otter, sea lion, crab, orca, gray and humpback whales, sea urchins, and sea stars. Your best bet for seeing all of these is to book a trip with Island Adventures, Anacortes Kayak Tours, or Whidbey Island Kayaking.

Western river valleys (Snohomish River Valley and Skagit Valley/Fidalgo Island) are favorite spots for hundreds of species of birds and waterfowl. Look for trumpeter swans, snow geese, and tundra swans in winter. 

While driving through the mountains (Stevens Pass Greenway, Leavenworth and the North Cascades National Park)be on the lookout for deer, coyote, bald eagle, and osprey.

In the backcountry, you may encounter black bear, mountain goat, elk, cougar, raccoons, skunks, and whistling marmots.

Driving through eastern river valleys (Wenatchee/Columbia River Valley, Lake Chelan and the Methow Valley) you may see deer, rabbits, coyotes, bighorn sheep, blue heron, bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey, wild turkey and turkey vulture.

Get away from the highway and you might encounter gray wolves, black bear, cougar, beaver, raccoon, skunk, whistling marmots, grouse, bobcats, badgers, moose, mountain goats, grouse, wild turkey, wolverine, lynx, bobcat, and pikas.

The Columbia River is well-known for spring Chinook, sockeye, coho and steelhead, sturgeon, cutthroat, rainbow trout, and walleye. The past two state-record lake trout were pulled from Lake Chelan (most recently in 2013) where you can also find Chinook, kokanee, cutthroat trout, and burbot.

Watchable Wildlife All Along the Loop
Bird of the Week: Sandhill Crane
Okanogan County is fortunate to be one of the few places in Washington where one can regularly see - and hear- Sandhill Cranes each spring and fall as they migrate. This past weekend a large group was seen flying south above Winthrop and Twisp. It was spectacular! Read More >>>>
Local Boy Makes National News: Miss Veedol 1931
On October 5th in 1931, Pangborn, an aerial acrobat and barnstormer along with his co-pilot, successfully completed the first non-stop flight eastbound across the Pacific Ocean in their red Bellanca J-300 Long Distance Special called the Miss Veedol. The term “successful” was up for debate, as their entire escapade was fraught with challenges they could not have imagined. Read More >>>>
Elk Rut Season
The elk rut begins around the time of the autumnal equinox in mid-September, and lasts a month. During this time, male elk, called bulls, will challenge each other for the privilege of mating with the females, or cows, in the harem. Bulls become aggressive and warn the other bulls to stay away from their harem. They “bugle” which is a high-pitched whistle that often ends with grunts. They also charge at each other with heads down and use the strength of their powerful necks and shoulders to lock antlers and… Read More >>>>