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Wildlife & Birding in the Methow Valley

Turn left on US-153 just before you reach Pateros and travel northwest along side the Methow River as it winds its way through the valley. The Lake Chelan Sawtooth Wilderness is located to the west and riparian areas adjacent to the Methow River are easily found as you continue along the subalpine valley. The uppermost western area of the Methow watershed carves deeply into the Cascade peaks. Avalanche chutes and jagged ridges define the area. The upper Methow River valley is a u-shaped, glaciated intermountain valley. It shouldn't come as a surprise then to hear this stretch of the byway labeled wildlife alley--animals seek refuge in the mountainous wilderness, food and water from the river. Be diligent and watchful as you drive through this area.

Wildlife Viewing

Shrew (Vagrant, Water, Marsh and Merriam's, American Pika, Nuttal's Cottontail, Jackrabbit (Black-Tailed and White-Tailed), Coast Mole, Muskrat, Beaver, Yellow-bellied Marmot, Cascade Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel, Chipmunk (Townsend's, Yellow Pine and Least) Squirrel (Douglas, Northern Flying ), Mice (North American Deer, Northwestern Deer, Northern Grasshopper, Western Harvest, Great Basin Pocket, Pacific Jumping), Bushy-Tailed Woodrat, Norway Rat, Vole (Montane, Long-Tailed, Southern Red-Backed, Western Heather and Sagebrush), Porcupine, Northern Pocket Gopher, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Red Fox, Black Bear, Raccoon, Short-Tailed Weasel, Mink, American Marten, Northern River Otter, Wolverine, American Badger, Skunk (Western-Spotted and Striped), Deer (Mule, White-Tailed and Black-Tailed), Rocky Mountain Elk, Mountain Goat

Eagle flying near Carlton with its catch from the Methow River

Key Birding Locations

Alta Lake State Park

180-acres lakeside, dry pine forest, high rock cliffs

Duck (Ruddy, Ring-Necked and Wood), Scaups (Greater and Lesser), Bonaparte's, Gull (California and Glaucus-Winged), Flycatcher (Dusky and Hammond's), Western Wood-Pewees, Say's Phoebes, Kingbird (Eastern and Western), Cassin's Finches, California Quail, Hummingbird (Calliope and Rufous), Pygmy Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Golden Eagles, White-Throated Swifts, Common Poorwills


Methow Valley Wildlife Area at Pipestone Canyon 

Mixed forest and 1-mile gorge

Eagle (Golden and Bald), American Kestrel, Canyon Wren, Grouse (Sooty and Dusky), Swallow (Cliff and Violet-Green), White-Breasted Nuthatch, Nashville Warbler, Lazuli Bunting


Mac Lloyd Park 

20-acre city park in Winthrop

American Goldfinch, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Violet-Green Swallows, Harlequin Ducks, Pine Siskins


Pearrygin Lake State Park

962-acre park surrounding lake with sandy beaches, riparian eastern shoreline, dry, rolling land and ponderosa pine

Eagle (Golden and Bald), Hawk (Red-Tailed, Red-Shouldered, Sharp-Shinned and Cooper's), Northern Harriers, Owl (Great Horned, Pygmy, Northern Saw-Whet and Screech), Warbler (Orange-Crowned, Wilson's and Yellow-Rumped), Yellow-Throats, Veery, American Redstart and Lazuli Bunting


Big Valley Wildlife Area 

847 acres of riparian are, deciduous and coniferous forest

Lazuli Bunting, Wood Duck, Vireo (Red-Eyed and Warbling), Veery, Swainson's Thrushes, Cassin's Finches, Cedar Waxwings, Woodpecker (Downy, Hairy, Pileated and White-Headed), Sapsucker (Williamson's and Red-Naped), Swallow (Barn, Violet-Green, Tree and Northern Rough-Winged)


Tawlks-Foster Suspension Bridge 

Methow River, tree-sheltered shoreline

American Redstart, Harlequin Duck, Hummingbird (Rufous and Calliope), Black-Headed Grosbeak, Cassin's Finch, Red Crossbill, Common Merganser, American Dipper, Nuthatch (Red-Breasted and White-Breasted), Mountain Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco


Mazama Audubon Trails 

22 acres of giant cedars, beaver ponds and river. Privately owned but open to birders. 

ACCESS: From Hwy 20 at milepost 179.5 in Mazama, turn east onto Lost River Rd. Drive 2.5 miles. Turn left into lodge parking.

Swainson's Thrush, Warbler (MacGillivray's and Townsend's), Vireo (Red-Eyed and Warbling), Veery, Ruffed Grouse, Red-Naped Sapsuckers, Woodpecker (Pileated, Downy and Hairy), Mountain Chickadee, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Brown Creeper, Pine Grosbeak


Klipchuck Campground

Coniferous forest beside a creek

Calliope Hummingbird, Warbler (Towsend's and MacGillivray's), Swainson's Thrush, Cassin's Vireo, Flycatcher (Dusky and Hammond's), Williamson's Sapsucker


Washington Pass Overlook 

Alpine, coniferous forest

Clark's Nutcracker, Gray Jay, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Red-naped Sapsucker, Chickadee (Mountain and Chestnut-backed), Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco

Birding Guide
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Wildlife Guide
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Field Guides
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Methow Valley Lodging, Dining, Activities & Info
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