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Wildlife Viewing: Bighorn Sheep

Roni Freund Pete Freund Photography | 06/29/2015 | Lake Chelan Valley, Wenatchee Columbia River Valley

Travelers along the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway have many opportunities to view wildlife at viewing stations and just by watching along the side of the road. 

Highway 97A follows the Columbia River most of the route between Wenatchee and Pateros. The river attracts a variety of bird and mammal species including favorites like American Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles, Mule Deer, and Bighorn Sheep, which can often be seen from your vehicle. 

Just outside of Wenatchee we often encounter a herd of Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) who call the Swakane Wildlife Area home. Bighorn sheep get their name from the large, curved horns on the males, or rams. The ewes (females) also have horns, but they are short, and only slightly curved. They are well known for their ability to climb high, steep, rocky areas, and the talus hillsides along the side of the road allow you opportunity to witness their agility. 

These incredible specimens often wander down to the roadway and cross over to get a drink from the river. These proud animals can often seen just outside of town, on the hills past Ohme Gardens, and across from Rocky Reach Dam. A ten-mile stretch of wildlife preservation fence helps to protect the deer and sheep from tragedy along this highway.

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