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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

Wellington Train Disaster
March 1, 2020 marks the 110th Anniversary of the most deadly avalanche in US History. Late in February, two Great Northern trains bound for Seattle, the Spokane Local No. 25, carrying passengers, and Fast Mail Train No. 27 were first delayed in Leavenworth, WA due to an unusually fierce snowstorm. On February 23rd they pressed on through the Cascade Tunnel, but were forced to stop near Wellington, a small railroad community just east of the summit of Stevens Pass. Snow was falling at a rate of a foot an hour,… Read More >>>>
Achieve Your New Years Resolution Goals In Winthrop Washington
Here in Winthrop Washington we take outdoor recreation seriously – in a fun way. If you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, why not set a goal to complete a race among wild flowers, snow capped mountains, and pristine public land? Spend a night in at one of our many hotels with hot tubs to relax those sore muscles. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, cross-country skier, or pickleball enthusiast, we have something for you. You can also reserve our outdoor rink for your next hockey tournament. Read More >>>>
Watchable Wildlife - California Quail
One of the most prevalent birds to be found year round on the Cascade Loop are the California Quail. These birds are Identified by a topknot, a protruding group of feathers on the top of their head. The male quail (cock) topknot is larger than the female (hen), and it droops forward and shakes when he walks and calls. Read More >>>>