Tucked in between the Okanagan-Wenatchee Forest and the drier, more arid Eastern Washington plains, the Wenatchee Valley makes a very interesting place to find an abundance of wildlife.
You can find critters almost anywhere in Wenatchee, but these areas are well-known for seeking out everything from bighorn sheep to bald eagles.
The200-acre Wenatchee Confluence State Park is a hotbed for wildlife. The Horan Natural Area is known for its birding with an amazing 250 species, so you can spot everything from osprey to bald eagles and woodpeckers to tree swallows. It’s right on the Wenatchee River, so as you walk the bottomlands, watch closely as you might run into muskrats among the cattails and beavers in the willows.
The Dry Gulch Preserve is a hiking area just minutes from downtown Wenatchee, with numerous trails. You’ll find unique plant life endemic to the area. You also might see the loggerhead shrike, a bird species that lives in the shrub environment of the gulch. Deer and mountain bighorn sheep are also commonly spotted on the many trails of the wildlife preserve. You'll also get amazing views of the Columbia River Valley – double whammy!
Just about a 30-minute drive out of town, you’ll find the Swakane Canyon Hike – an amazing route for wildflowers, unique rock formations, deer, coyotes, snakes and hawks. The best time to head out is spring or autumn, you’ll catch amazing colors with the spring blooms and wildlife usually head out to the forest and hunt. If you want to be sure to catch a glimpse, try early morning or late evening.
The Rocky Reach Discovery Center features large windows for fish ladder viewing to watch salmon and other fish going through the dam. The center also displays fun and informational exhibits and entertainment to learn all about how the dam works. It's free to visit, and open from Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.