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Wenas
Wildlife Area Location

CONTACT INFORMATION
Cindi Confer
Manager
312 Mountain Vale Rd.
Selah, WA 98942
(509) 697-4503
(509) 697-4503 fax

 
For more information on
Wildlife Areas, please contact
the WDFW Wildlife Program.

Phone: 360-902-2515
E-mail: wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

 

Parking Information
A Discover Pass or
Vehicle Access Pass
is REQUIRED
on ALL WDFW Lands

Learn more

 
Wildlife Areas
 Index of Wildlife Areas and Units 

Wenas Wildlife Area
Wenas Wildlife AreaThe 105,460-acre Wenas Wildlife Area, southwest of Ellensburg in both Yakima and Kittitas counties, is managed as one unit.

WDFW owns 70,093 acres, leases 16,514 acres of the 30,643 acres owned by DNR, and manages 3,485 acres for BLM. Elevation ranges from 1,200 to 4,100 feet. Much of the land is very dry, with predominantly south-facing slopes. Except for the cliffs along Umtanum Creek and the Yakima River, most of the topography is not overly steep. The unique soil formation known as the Manastash Mounds is found throughout lands lying south of Umtanum Ridge.

Property was first acquired in the mid-1960s for elk wintering habitat. A winter feeding program is conducted annually to help meet management goals for the Yakima elk herd.

The northwest portion is drained by Wenas Creek, with several smaller tributaries flowing southwest to northeast. Numerous perennial springs are scattered throughout, although water is not well dispersed over the northern exposure of the South Umtanum Ridge. Umtanum Creek runs for ten miles through the wildlife area before emptying into the Yakima River. Steep basaltic cliffs rise on both sides of the stream corridor. The narrow riparian forest zone adjacent to Umtanum Creek is comprised of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, black cottonwood, aspen and willows. Beaver are active in this drainage. Roza Creek flows about four miles in a southeasterly direction into the Yakima River. Bordered by steep slopes and ridges on both sides, the creek bottom supports a narrow band of riparian shrub/forest habitat throughout its length. Beginning in the mid-1990s, beaver moved into the drainage and have constructed multiple dams on the creek resulting in raising the water table and reducing water velocity. All of these streams are fish-bearing and some, notably Umtanum, historically supported anadromous fish that are currently federally listed, including steelhead. WDFW and other state and federal agencies are actively pursuing the removal of barriers from these streams to re-establish anadromous fish use.

Much of the Wenas Wildlife Area is dominated by shrub-steppe vegetation. Some forest vegetation types exist at higher elevations and in riparian areas. 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. Big game hunting is popular.


Viewing Opportunities

Birds

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

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

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • Spawning Salmon
  • Wildflowers
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    Sheep Company Road Access: From I-82 take exit 26 and go West approximately 1/4 mile to Hwy 823/Harrison Rd. Turn left (West) onto Harrison Rd., go two miles until it intersects with North Wenas Rd. Take a right onto North Wenas Rd. and go 4.8 miles to Sheep Company Rd. Turn right (North) onto Sheep Company Rd, go approximately 1 mile to access onto the wildlife area. Once you cross the cattle guard you are on the wildlife area. Please follow Green Dot Road Management regulations, and use a Green Dot map of the area for reference.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    No developed parking areas and no restrooms are provided.
    Other Information
    No campfires from April 15 to October 15. The Wildlife Area is within a Green Dot Road Management area. Maps and regulations are available at the Regional Office, District Office and DNR's SE Regional Office. In addition, yellow readerboards with maps are placed at entry points. Motorized vehicles must stay on designated green dot roads.
    Access Site #2
    Driving Directions
    Cleman Mountain Access: From I-82 take exit 26 and go West approximately 1/4 mile to Hwy 823/Harrison Rd. Turn left (West) onto Harrison Rd., go two miles until it intersects with North Wenas Rd. Turn right onto North Wenas Road and travel on it for 17.3 miles. There will be a WDFW sign and a gate in the elk fence on the left (south). This is the entrance to the Clemans Mountain unit. Please close the gate behind you. Please follow Green Dot Road Management regulations, and use a Green Dot map of the area for reference. This area is closed each winter for the protection of wintering elk. Closure begins approximately December 15, and reopens May 1.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    No developed parking areas and no restrooms are provided.
    Other Information
    No campfires from April 15 to October 15. The Wildlife Area is within a Green Dot Road Management area. Maps and regulations are available at the Regional Office, District Office and DNR's SE Regional Office. In addition, yellow readerboards with maps are placed at entry points. Motorized vehicles must stay on designated green dot roads. Each winter the Cleman Mountain unit of the wildlife area is closed to all public access for the protection of wintering elk. The closure begins upon initiation of supplemental feeding, typically in early to mid-December, and reopens May 1.
    Unique Features
    Skyline trail follows the Yakima Canyon rim overlooking the Yakima River. No motorized vehicles are allowed.

    The Umtanum trail begins in the Yakima River Canyon at the BLM Umtanum Recreation Site and follows Umtanum Creek up through several miles of the wildlife area through shrub-steppe and riparian habitats. The Umtanum Falls trail takes off from the Umtanum Road (Ellensburg Pass Road) and follows Umtanum Creek downstream to the falls (approximately 1.25 miles).

    The upper Wenas Valley is considered an important bird area by Audobon.

    Other Information
    No campfires are allowed from April 15 to October 15. Motorized vehicles must stay on designated green dot roads.
     
    The Discover Pass - Your ticket to Washington's great outdoors
    A Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass is required on all WDFW lands.
    Learn more at
    DiscoverPass.wa.gov
       OTHER INFORMATION
    Wenas Wildlife Area Management Plan
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
       MAPPING
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
       OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
    • Bird watching
    • Camping
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding
    • Hunting
    • Mountain biking
    • Nordic skiing & snowshoeing
    • Target shooting/trap shooting/archery range
    • 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.