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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
Newly Opened Trail In Winthrop Washington - You will Want To See For Yourself
If you’re into mountain biking, we have some exciting news for you from Winthrop Washington! Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance | Methow Chapter has reaped the rewards of a ten-year permitting process to access the national forest around Sun Mountain Lodge for mountain bike trails. The pinnacle of the quarter-million-dollar project is the newly opened Thompson Ridge Trail. This is a single-track trail (not dirt road) which is intended to be ridden clockwise in about three to six hours depending on the cyclist. There really isn’t anything like it in the… Read More >>>>
Bird of the Week: Varied Thrush
"The Varied Thrush is a gorgeous bird with a simple single note for a song. It is closely related to the American Robin and other thrushes who are considered amazing songsters. Bird sightings and behaviors are often major seasonal cues for me, and I tend to think of the Varied Thrush as a "winter" bird in our neck of the woods because they move up in elevation to the mountains during the summer and back down to our yards and feeders from now through early spring. Winter must be nearly… Read More >>>>
Winthrop Ice Rink is open for winter!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gliding across glistening ice on a pair of skates. Add a stunning outdoor setting, complete with towering mountains and bald eagles soaring overhead, and you’ve got the Winthrop Rink. Nestled in the Methow Valley, the Winthrop Rink offers a range of programs for all ages and abilities, from Open Skate sessions, to drop-in hockey, to freestyle figure skating, to Learn to Skate, to hockey tournaments. Read More >>>>