Wenatchee Wildlife Experiences
With natural beauty and outdoor recreation abound, it only makes sense that the Wenatchee Valley would also be a hotspot for a variety of wildlife. From birding to bighorn sheep viewing, below are some of our favorite wildlife experiences for the nature-inclined.
Go birding at Horan Natural Area.
Within the nearly 200-acre Wenatchee Confluence State Park is Horan Natural Area – a concentrated oasis known for its stunning natural beauty and thriving bird populations. Everything from osprey and bald eagles to woodpeckers and tree swallows can be spotted here, as well as an abundance of shorebirds along the riverbanks. The nearby Wenatchee River Institute in Leavenworth also hosts an annual Bird Fest in May for true avian enthusiasts.
Visit Rocky Reach Dam.
Re-opening on April 1, Rocky Reach Dam Park is not only a great spot for viewing the occasional bighorn sheep, but also hosts ongoing educational events and programs for nature lovers. Additionally, The Rock Reach Discovery Center is undergoing dramatic renovations and will be re-opening in Spring 2021, featuring expanded exhibits and large windows for viewing the fish ladder up-close.
Take a hike through a wildlife area.
There’s no better way to spot some critters than to go for a trek through a nearby wildlife refuge. Dry Gulch Preserve and Jacobson Preserve are two popular picks less than three miles from town. For a longer hike, Sage Hills Loop is a great alternative while the 249[ML1] -acre Squilchuck State Park is also great for wildlife viewing. The Wenatchee River Institute occasionally offers wildlife tracking classes throughout the year as well.
Go fishing (or visit a hatchery).
Home to several rivers and a lake, the Wenatchee Valley is great for catching salmon, sturgeon, bass, steelhead and more. However, if you’d prefer to view fish instead of catch them, the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery raises more than one million Chinook salmon each year in addition to providing tours and hosting educational events.
Cruise along The Cascade Loop.
Wenatchee is the ideal launchpad for those who want to explore more of the region and North Cascades via the Cascade Loop. Bighorn sheep, coyotes, blue herons, golden eagles and osprey are just a few of the species you can find around the mountains and surrounding valley. Get away from the highway and you may even spot gray wolves, marmots and grouse.