Wildlife Area Location

Pete Lopushinski
9000 Tarpiscan Road
Malaga, WA 98828
(509) 663-6260

Wildlife Areas
Colockum Wildlife Area
Colockum Wildlife AreaThe 91,603-acre Colockum Wildlife Area is located about 15 miles south of the city of Wenatchee, in Kittitas and Chelan counties. Managed as one unit, WDFW owns 46,019 acres, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) owns 34,561acres interspersed in checkerboard fashion, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns 11,023 acres managed by WDFW through a Memorandum of Understanding. The Colockum is contiguous to the south with the Quilomene unit of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. Elevations range from 480 feet to 6,875 feet, with steep, rocky slopes and a rolling series of ridges and canyons that generally drain west to east.

Acquisition of the Colockum began in the mid-1950s using federal Pittman-Robertson funds to expand winter range for deer and elk herds and to perpetuate and improve upland game bird habitat.

Colockum Elk Herd Study: 2008-2012
Powerpoint presentation of the preliminary results from the Colockum Elk Study, that was presented at a public meeting in Ellensburg on January 7th.

Download the Colockum Elk Herd Study Presentation

Year-round surface water is scarce. The major water source is 15 miles of the Columbia River on the eastern boundary. Clara and Marion lakes are along the northwest boundary at 5,500 feet in elevation. Three year-round streams include Colockum, Coleman and Brushy creeks. Intermittent streams are found in the Whitson, north and south forks of Tarpiscan Creek, Stray and Tekison drainages. These streams fill numerous beaver ponds, which are an important source of water for wildlife. There are also numerous springs and an occasional seasonal pond.

About 30,000 acres are conifer forest and the balance is predominantly shrub steppe. Vegetation ranges from the lower elevation shrubs and bunch grasses into Ponderosa Pine, then to higher elevations with denser stands of timber, mostly Douglas fir, grand fir, and some larch. Grasslands interspersed with rock outcrops and shrub-steppe communities dominate hillsides in transitional zones. Currently one grazing lease exists on the northern edge of the area, part of a long standing agreement between WDFW, DNR, Washington State University, and a local lessee to provide an opportunity for livestock, wildlife and forestry research.

Wildlife use is diverse, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, sage grouse, turkey, quail, and a myriad of small mammals, neo-tropical/upland birds, raptors, and reptiles. Resident and migratory fish species including Chinook, sockeye and coho salmon, steelhead, smallmouth bass, perch, trout, walleye and white sturgeon inhabit the Columbia River and its tributaries. Hunting and wildlife watching are the major forms of recreation.

Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Eagles
  • Shorebirds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Wading Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Bear
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • Wildflowers
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    Drive south from Wenatchee on the Malaga/Alcoa Hwy. 13 miles to the junction of the Colockum Road and the Tarpiscan Road. Turn left onto Tarpiscan Road and drive 3 miles to the end of the county road and the Wildlife Area Headquarters.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    No restrooms. Tarpiscan road is gated at private property 1 mile beyond the headquarters. Motor vehicles allowed only on green dot roads. Parking allowed within 100 feet of green dot roads.
    Other Information
    Big game winter range. Snowmobiles probibited on Tarpiscan Road and winter range.
    Access Site #2
    Driving Directions
    Drive south from Wenatchee on the Malaga/Alcoa Hwy. 13 miles to the junction of the Colockum Road and the Tarpiscan Road. Continue on the Colockum Road 6 miles to the end of the county road. This road becomes primitive, but does continue up and over Colockum Pass to the Kittitas Valley and Ellensburg area.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    No restrooms. Rough, primitive road not reccomended for passenger vehicles. Motorized vehicles allowed only on green dot roads. Parking allowed within 100 ft. of green dot roads.
    Other Information
    This road is usually impassable by wheeled vehicles from December-March. Snowmobiles not allowed on big game winter range (snowmobiles not allowed east of the Colockum Road, Brewton Road, Powerline Road and Colockum Road).
    Unique Features
    Spring wildflowers bloom in April/May at lower elevations. Elk viewing available near Colockum Pass in summer.
    Other Information
    Colockum roads are extremely primitive. High-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Carry water, supplies and a spare tire.
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    • Bird watching
    • Boating
    • Camping
    • Dog training/trials
    • Dog walking
    • Fishing
    • Group events and tours
    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding
    • Hunting
    • Mountain biking
    • Nordic skiing and snowshoeing
    • Rock climbing
    • Target shooting/trap shooting/archery
    • Wildlife viewing

    If you are Hunting or Fishing, remember to check all current regulations.

    Activities may include restrictions or require permits. Please see Public Conduct Rules for more information.