Swanson Lakes
Wildlife Area Location

Juli Anderson
19602 Seven Springs Road
Creston, WA 99117
(509) 636-2344

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Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area
Swanson Lakes Unit
Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area is approximately 21,000 acres, of which 1,280 acres are leased from DNR. Managed as one unit, Swanson Lakes is located in Lincoln County, about 10 miles south of the town of Creston, in the upper portion of the Crab Creek Watershed.

It has numerous pothole lakes, a handful of rim rock lakes, and one intermittent stream, Lake Creek, a tributary of Rock Creek. Within the channeled scablands of the Columbia Plateau, it also includes plateaus, buttes, and channels. Shrub-steppe and riparian/wetlands are the main habitats. Much of the area is rangeland, with some old Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields and several hundred acres of restored grassland habitat. A small amount of leased cropland produces cereal grains and hay. Elevation ranges from about 1,640 feet in the southwest to about 2,490 feet in the northeast.

Swanson Lakes was acquired mainly between 1993 and 1997 as a Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) wildlife mitigation project, primarily for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, a state threatened species. It also supports a mix of species, including mule deer, upland game birds, raptors, songbirds, and several reptiles and amphibians.

Red-tailed hawk Photo Gallery
Wildlife Area staff have put together a great photo gallery. Take a look!
Join in a citizen science initiative to conduct long-term Ecological Integrity Monitoring Learn More!

Viewing Opportunities


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

  • Deer
  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • Wildflowers
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    From US Hwy 2 at Creston, turn south by the grain elevators, onto Swanson Lakes Road; road name later changes to Seven Springs Road. At 10.5 miles, turn left at Y. Office is in one mile.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    On mile-long entry road to office, there is a parking area with vault toilet, kiosk with variety of maps and info, and wheelchair accessible short gravel trail toward the east Swanson Lake.
    Other Information
    No overnight parking on any WDFW lots. Parking at WLA HQ lot is recommended only during weekdays, as gate to HQ may be locked at random hours on weekends, giving possibility of trapping a vehicle behind locked gate.
    Access Site #2
    Driving Directions
    From I-90, turn north onto Hwy 21 toward Odessa. At approximately 30 miles, turn right onto Schuster Road. At 8 miles turn right onto Seven Springs Road/Swanson Lake Road. At 1.5 miles, turn left at Y in road. Office is 1 mile in.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    Several day parking lots are located along county roads that bisect or border the Wildlife Area. Parking is also allowed at WLA Headquarters. There is a restroom at WLA HQ, which is normally open M-F, 8-5. All parking lots require a Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass.
    Other Information
    No overnight parking on any WDFW lots. Parking at WLA HQ lot is recommended only during weekdays, as gate to HQ may be locked at random hours on weekends, giving possibility of trapping a vehicle behind locked gate.
    Unique Features
    This area is mostly shrub-steppe habitat, in the Channeled Scablands. Great for seeing spring wildflowers, a variety of birds of prey, and shrub-steppe obligate songbirds. There are some stands of aspen, and a few rimrock lakes, including a mile-long lake in the Lake Creek drainage. This formally unnamed lake is stocked with rainbow trout for walk-in fishing. There are several unmarked trails within the wildlife area. Almost no point within the WLA is further than 2 miles from a county road.
    Other Information
    Maps available at WLA HQ. No motorized vehicles allowed on SLWA, except on the mile-long entry road to HQ. Primary hunted species: mule deer, coyote, waterfowl and upland birds. Upland bird hunters note: take of sharp-tailed and sage grouse is prohibited by law. Spring through fall: hikers watch for rattlesnakes, and check for ticks after visiting.
    WDFW is kicking off a multi-year wildlife area planning process at Swanson Lakes, Reardan Audubon Lake and Revere wildlife areas. The new management plan will address the status of wildlife species and their habitat, the progress of restoration efforts, and public recreation opportunities. Learn more >>
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    Green Dot Maps
    No activities currently listed for this Unit.

    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.