For more information on wildlife viewing, please contact WDFW Wildlife Program.

Phone: 360-902-2515

Found Injured Wildlife?

Contact a local
Wildlife Rehabilitator

For more information contact a WDFW Regional Office


Viewing Guides and Maps

Yellow-headed blackbird
Brad Manchas photo

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Birding In and Around Klickitat County
Sites for Access Viewing and Birding

People have observed over 290 bird species in Klickitat County. This region is bordered to the south by 85 miles of the Columbia River Gorge and the lower stretches of its tributaries. Klickitat County is bordered to the north by the foothills of the Cascade and Simcoe mountain ranges. Elevation varies in Klickitat County from near sea level to over 5,000 feet along the Yakama Indian Reservation to the north. This region provides an ideal climate for seasonal bird observations all year. What makes Klickitat County an exceptional, year-round birding environment are the range of unique habitats from the moist foothills of the Cascades to the dry, open country of eastern Washington. Fir forests dominate the west end of the county where pine and oak transition in the central region as rainfall declines. Much of the eastern county is agricultural with old homesteads and open range grasslands. Other special habitats important for many bird species found in Klickitat county include seasonal wetlands, springs, creeks, sagebrush and basalt cliffs found along the Columbia River. All these habitats provide important resources for birds during the nesting, migration and winter seasons.


Indian Heaven Wilderness and Sawtooth Berryfields Big Lava Bed - Pacific Crest Trail Segment South Prairie Monte Cristo Trail #53 Pineside Sno-Park Loop Mt. Adams Wilderness Trout Lake Marsh Natural Area Preserve Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge Bingen Pond and Marina Catherine Creek Balfour-Klickitat Day-use Area Klickitat River Columbia Hills from Lyle to Rock Creek Goldendale to Bickleton Bickleton: The Bluebird Capital of Washington Columbia River and Foothills East of Rock Creek
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Birdwatchers' Code of Ethics

Respect birds. Quietly observe them from a distance, especially at nest sites and important feeding areas. Vehicles serve as effective roadside blinds. Close your doors gently.

Respect private land ownership. Know your public roads. Use this map in conjunction with the “Official Klickitat County, Washington” and “Mt. Adams Ranger District” road maps.

Respect the land. Stay on trails, paths, and public roads. Park at turnouts or safe road edges.

Support local communities in Klickitat County by patronizing businesses. Proudly wear your binoculars, and let businesses know you are here for the birds.

Enjoy and respect the birds of Klickitat County!

Birds of Klickitat County

Illustrations by Diane Gadwa

White-headed woodpecker










Gross Beak






Sharp-shinned Hawk

breasted Chat




Gray Jay

Western Bluebird




Swainson's Hawk















Gray Warbler

Illustrations by Diane Gadwa
Site Legend
Parking available Parking
Camping Camping
Picnic Area Picnic Area
Accessible Restrooms and Trails Accessible Restrooms and Trails
Restrooms Restrooms
May require fee. Check prior to your trip. May require fee. Check prior to your trip.
Big Lava Bed - Pacific Crest Trail Segment
Parking available Camping

Band-tailed pigeon
Band-tailed pigeon
Kelly McAllister photo

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 3,500 feet

ACCESS: May - October. From Trout Lake, take Hwy 141 southwest for 4.5 miles, where it becomes Road 24 at the forest boundary. Continue west on Road 24, 2.5 miles to left turn onto Road 60 (gravel). Drive west 12 miles along Road 60, to Crest Horse Camp trailhead. Hike south on this level segment of the Pacific Crest Trail.

HABITAT: The snag-rich, open forest on the lava flow contains lodgepole pine, vine maple, and cascara. Closed-canopy conifer forest found west of the trail includes noble fir.

BIRDS: The flute-like songs of Swainson’s and hermit thrushes echo through the trees. Challenging to see are the Townsend’s and hermit warblers, delivering high-pitched songs from high in the forest canopy. Watch for fly-overs or owl-like calls of the band-tailed pigeon. Purple martins breed at nearby Goose Lake.

Other species include: barred owl; black-backed woodpecker; Hammond’s and pacific-slope flycatchers; gray jay; chestnut-backed chickadee; red-breasted nuthatch; brown creeper; winter wren.

South Prairie
Parking available
Common nighthawk
Common nighthawk

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 3,000 feet

ACCESS: May - October. From Trout Lake, take Hwy 141 southwest for 4.5 miles; it becomes Road 24 at the forest boundary. Continue west on Road 24, 2.5 miles to left turn onto Road 60 (gravel). Drive west along Road 60 for 2 miles to Road 66. Head south on Road 66 for 4 miles to South Prairie.

HABITAT: A grassy meadow west of Road 66 becomes a seasonal lake during spring runoff while a year-round lake lies on the east side of the road. Big cottonwoods and willow thickets are surrounded by mixed-conifer forest.

BIRDS: The hooded merganser and Barrow’s goldeneye are two waterfowl species that breed in the region. Listen for Wilson’s snipe performing its flight display at dawn and dusk. Olive-sided flycatchers broadcast “quick! three cheers” from high perches, while willow flycatchers call “fitz bew” from willow shrubs.

Other species include: wood duck; northern pygmy-owl; northern saw-whet owl; common nighthawk; red-breasted sapsucker; MacGillivray’s warbler; Lincoln’s sparrow.

Indian Heaven Wilderness and Sawtooth Berryfields
Parking available Camping May require fee. Check prior to your trip.

Barrow's Goldeneye Barrow's Goldeneye
Tom Kogut photo ©

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 3,300 - 5,900 feet

ACCESS: June - October. Trail map at Mt. Adams Ranger Station, Trout Lake.

HABITAT: Mid to high-elevation, mixed-conifer forest, amidst rocky crags. Many scattered lakes and wetland meadows. Huckleberries ripen in late summer.

BIRDS: Blue grouse ventriloquial booms are closer than you think. Listen for singing ruby-crowned kinglet and fox sparrow in the berry fields in late June. Calling loudly among the treetops is the highly social Clark’s nutcracker. With ethereal minor-key whistles, the varied thrush reliably greets the dawn. In September, look for migrating orange-crowned warblers and goldencrowned sparrows on slopes of huckleberry and young firs.

Other species include: Barrow’s goldeneye; spotted sandpiper; black-backed woodpecker; American pipit; yellow-rumped and Townsend’s warbler; Lincoln’s sparrow.

Monte Cristo Trail #53
Parking available
Gray Jay
Gray Jay
Tom Kogut photo ©

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 4,100 - 4,300 feet

ACCESS: June - October. From Trout Lake, take Hwy 141 southwest 3 miles, to a left hand turn south onto Road 8600 (gravel). Head south 2 miles to junction and go left on Road 8600 for approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Road 8600-071 for 0.1 mile, then right onto Road 8600-080 for 0.5 miles to trailhead #53. Explore 4 miles of trail (each way) along steep, panoramic ridge crest.

HABITAT: Old-growth noble fir is a special attraction at the trailhead. Rock outcrops protrude from the grassy slopes, and extensive upland shrub fields border mixed conifer forest. Large snags are abundant.

BIRDS: Watch for soaring raptors from scenic vistas along the ridgeline. Listen for the low, two-noted cooing of the band-tailed pigeon, or the twittering notes of a Vaux’s swift. A variety of hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, and warblers may be encountered. Townsend’s solitaire and hermit thrush are common in late summer, when ripening elder berries become a food source.

Other species include: Steller’s jay; western tanager; white-crowned sparrow; lazuli bunting; red crossbill.

Pineside Sno-Park Loop
Parking available Picnic area Camping Restrooms May require fee. Check prior to your trip.
White-headed woodpeckerWhite-headed woodpecker
Dave Menke,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 2,700 - 3,300 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. From Trout Lake, follow signs to Mt. Adams Recreation Area and forest Road 82. At the national forest boundary, continue 0.5 miles north along Road 82 to Pineside Sno-park. Take Road 8225-041 2 miles to Road 8020. Head 1 mile north on Road 8020 to Road 8020-021. Take Road 8020-021 east for 0.5 miles to Road 8225. Turn right on Road 8225 and complete loop.

HABITAT: A budworm outbreak in the 1990s left dead and dying trees within mixed stands of grand fir, Douglas-fir, ponderosa and lodgepole pine.

BIRDS: Dying trees, loaded with insects, attract Williamson’s sapsucker; hairy, white-headed, three-toed, black-backed, and pileated woodpeckers; and huge numbers of breeding evening grosbeaks. Brown creepers cling to tree bark, remaining well-concealed while foraging. Nashville warblers inhabit the deciduous understory. Compare the songs of black-headed grosbeak and western tanager, or try learning the subtle song differences between the dark-eyed junco and chipping sparrow.

Mt. Adams Wilderness
Parking available Picnic area Accessible Restrooms and Trails Restrooms May require fee. Check prior to your trip.
Kelly McAllister photo

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Elevation 3,350 - 12,276 feet

ACCESS: June - September. Trail map at Mt. Adams Ranger Station, Trout Lake.

HABITAT: High-elevation conifer forest, alpine meadows, lakes, cliffs, glaciers, and scree.

BIRDS: Golden eagles soar above the towering volcano. Spotted sandpipers are found at subalpine lakes. Common ravens maintain year-round territories. Rosy finch and American pipit prefer high snowfields, boulder scree, and alpine meadows.

Species encountered below treeline include: northern goshawk; blue grouse; Three-toed woodpecker; gray jay; Clark’s nutcracker; mountain chickadee; golden-crowned kinglet; mountain bluebird; hermit thrush; yellow-rumped, Townsend’s and hermit warblers; fox sparrow; Cassin’s finch; pine siskin.

Trout Lake Marsh Natural Area Preserve
Parking available Picnic area Camping Restrooms
Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Area Program.
Designated Important Bird Area (Audubon Washington)
Elevation 1,920 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Take Hwy 141 north 25 miles from Hwy 14 to Trout Lake. Turn right onto Lake Road (just past Mt. Adams Ranger Station). Follow Lake Road to its end. Walk 0.6 mile trail.

HABITAT: Willow, alder, and cottonwood among fields of reed canary grass comprise the vegetative communities around the wetland marsh. The surrounding mixed-conifer forest includes pine, hemlock, cedar, and larch.

BIRDS: Watch for transient merlin in spring and fall. Violet-green swallows stage to migrate in large numbers during July and August. Red-winged blackbirds establish nesting territories in February.

Other species include: pied-billed grebe; wood duck; hooded merganser; bald eagle; ruffed grouse; Virginia rail; solitary sandpiper; band-tailed pigeon; calliope hummingbird; white-headed and pileated woodpeckers; willow, dusky, and pacific-slope flycatchers; red-eyed vireo; northern rough-winged swallow; house wren; Swainson’s thrush; veery; gray catbird; Nashville, yellow, black-throated gray and MacGillivray’s warblers; American redstart; common yellowthroat; Bullock’s oriole; black-headed and evening grosbeaks.

Rare: solitary sandpiper; least flycatcher; loggerhead shrike; Hutton’s vireo; northern mockingbird; ovenbird; northern waterthrush; pine grosbeak.

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Parking available Picnic area Restrooms
Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane
Red-naped sapsucker
Red-naped sapsucker

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Elevation 1,830 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Take Hwy 141 north approximately 20 miles from Hwy 14 to Warner Road (there is a sign with large binocular symbol). Turn right on Warner Road then left on East Sunnyside Road for 2.3 miles to Trout Lake- Glenwood Road. Turn right (east) and continue east 5 miles to Wildlife Refuge Road. Turn right and continue to refuge headquarters to access Willard Springs Nature Trail.

HABITAT: Expansive network of shallow floodplain, irrigation canals, emergent wetlands, and prairie. Forests of mixed-conifer, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, and groves of aspen. Stands of snags offer numerous cavities. Oak woodlands are also present.

BIRDS: Sandhill cranes arrive in mid-March and are readily seen in the valley lowlands. Dozens of killdeer also gather on open flats after the snow melts. Willard Springs trail is a good place to find a white-headed woodpecker or pygmy nuthatch. Common yellowthroats inhabit wetland areas from April through September. Wintering birds include rough-legged hawk, northern shrike, and in irruptive years, common redpolls.

Other species include: American bittern; tundra and trumpeter swans; Greater white-fronted goose; cinnamon teal; northern pintail; northern harrier; greater yellowlegs; black tern; red-naped sapsucker; gray and least flycatchers; western wood-pewee; Say’s phoebe; eastern kingbird; Cassin’s vireo; tree and cliff swallow; Wilson’s warbler; savannah sparrow; yellow-headed blackbird; purple and Cassin’s finches.

Rare: Ross’s goose; red-shouldered hawk (early fall); black-bellied plover.

Bingen Pond and Marina
Parking available Picnic area Restrooms

Wood duck
Wood duck

Klickitat County Port Authority
Elevation 100 feet

ACCESS: Year- round. In Bingen, one block east of Hwy 14 and 141 junction, take Shore Drive south to Port of Klickitat. Cross railroad tracks and continue south along gravel to parking.

HABITAT: Cottonwood, alder, and willow encompass a pond adjacent to the Columbia River. Blackberry thickets amidst open weedy expanses of filled land.

BIRDS: In winter, scan for deep divers such as common loon or horned grebe. Greater white-fronted geese, tundra and trumpeter swans may be seen on the pond. Peregrine falcons perch on the transmission tower. Careful observation of wintering passerines in the brambles may reveal a white-throated, Harris’s, or Lincoln’s sparrow.

Other species include: eared grebe; blue-winged and cinnamon teal; northern shoveler; canvasback; redhead; greater and lesser scaup; merlin; Virginia rail; solitary sandpiper; willow flycatcher; purple martin; marsh wren; cedar waxwing; yellow warbler; common yellowthroat; song sparrow; Bullock’s oriole.

Rare: pacific loon; American bittern; red-breasted merganser; long-eared owl; sage, American tree, and swamp sparrow; tricolored blackbird.

Catherine Creek
Parking available Picnic area Accessible Restrooms and Trails Restrooms
Black-capped chickadee
Black-capped chickadee
Kelly McAllister photo

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Elevation 200 - 1,800 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. From Bingen, travel 4.5 miles on Hwy 14 and turn left at Rowland Lake on Old Hwy 8. Continue 1 mile to Catherine Creek trailhead.

HABITAT: Oak-pine savanna, riparian glens, rocky outcrops. Famous for spring flowers.

BIRDS: Sharp-shinned and red-tailed hawks; ruffed grouse; northern pygmy-owl; Lewis’s and downy woodpeckers; northern flicker; Say’s phoebe; ash-throated flycatcher; warbling vireo; western scrub-jay; black-capped chickadee; bushtit; white-breasted nuthatch; canyon wren; western bluebird; Townsend’s solitaire; black-throated gray warbler; chipping sparrow; lazuli bunting; western meadowlark.

Balfour-Klickitat Day-use Area
Parking available Picnic area Accessible Restrooms and Trails Restrooms
Bald eagle
Bald eagle
American dipper
American dipper
Tom Kogut photos ©

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Elevation 150 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Head east from downtown Bingen on Hwy 14 for 9 miles to milepost 76, just before the bridge crossing the mouth of the Klickitat River, at the west end of Lyle. Turn left on Old Hwy 8 and continue 0.2 miles to parking area on right. Enjoy the paved 0.5 mile loop trail.

HABITAT: Open weedy grassland with grand old Oregon white oak and ponderosa pine, adjacent to the Klickitat River. Old homestead includes locust trees, small cottonwood spring, osage orange, and sumac hedgerows, with an overview of the Columbia River.

BIRDS: Bald eagles congregate here in the winter. During most winters, a small flock of canvasbacks show up. Lewis’s woodpeckers share the pines and oaks with red and white-breasted nuthatches. Swallows thrive here, notably violet-green, rough-winged, and cliff. A keynote bird seen here is the lesser goldfinch. The nearby Klickitat River mouth attracts migrating shorebirds including semipalmated plover, sanderling, and Baird’s sandpiper. California gull and Caspian tern are common during spring and summer, while mew gull and common tern are infrequent visitors.

Other species include: Anna’s hummingbird; ash-throated flycatcher; bushtit; Audubon’s warbler.

Rare: acorn woodpecker; yellow-headed blackbird.

Klickitat River
Parking available Picnic area Camping Restrooms May require fee. Check prior to your trip.
Golden eagle
Golden eagle
NW Trek photo

Private lands; county, state and federal holdings.
Elevation 100 - 1,000 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Drive north along Hwy 142 from west end of Lyle, just east of Hwy 14 bridge over Klickitat River. Just after leaving Hwy 14 is Klickitat Rails-to-Trails trailhead on the left. Upstream, the Klickitat Wildlife Area encompasses 18 miles of river’s edge.

HABITAT: Riverine canyon of alder and willow, bordering scattered ponderosa pine and oak woodlands. Exposed basalt cliffs and south-facing grasslands. Water birch occurs here at its southernmost point in Washington.

BIRDS: Common mergansers fish in the swift water. Also adept at fishing is the belted kingfisher. Songbirds breeding in the riparian corridor include: red-eyed vireo; yellow warbler; yellowbreasted chat; Bullock’s oriole. Blackberry thickets provide cover for the ground-dwelling spotted towhee and fox sparrow.

Other species include: common goldeneye; bald and golden eagles; Cooper’s hawk; wild turkey; red-breasted sapsucker; rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds; western wood-pewee; Cassin’s and warbling vireos; bushtit; canyon wren; American dipper; Nashville and black-throated gray warblers; lazuli bunting.

Columbia Hills from Lyle to Rock Creek
Parking available Picnic area Camping Accessible Restrooms and Trails Restrooms May require fee. Check prior to your trip.
Short-earred owl
Short-earred owl
Bruce Dishaw photo ©

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area; state and private lands.
Designated Important Bird Area (Audubon Washington)
Elevation 300 - 3,200 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Visit these sites along Hwy 14: Dallesport; Wishram; Horsethief Lake State Park; Maryhill Museum; Maryhill State Park. Roads joining Hwy 14 are Centerville Hwy, Dalles Mountain Road, Maryhill Loops Road, John Day Dam Road, Towal and Rock Creek roads. Hoctor Road heads east from Hwy 97 and offers great raptor-viewing opportunities. HABITAT: Columbia River shoreline runs the length of this area. Upland slopes consist of native grassland and shrub-steppe. Basalt cliffs rise above oak woodlands amid scree slopes. Junipers inhabit the higher plateau.

BIRDS: Hunting grasslands in spring and summer, Swainson’s hawks are occasionally seen. Barn owls hunt from low perches at night, often from roadside fencelines. The secretive yellow-breasted chat may be heard vocalizing from blackberry thickets.

Other species include: common loon; turkey vulture; northern harrier; golden eagle; peregrine falcon; gray partridge; dunlin; Bonaparte’s and mew gulls; great horned, long-eared and short-eared owls; loggerhead shrike; red-eyed vireo; black-billed magpie; rock, canyon, Bewick’s and marsh wrens; Townsend’s solitaire; American pipit; Harris’s, white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrow; lesser goldfinch. Rare: tricolored blackbird; ferruginous hawk.

Goldendale to Bickleton
Parking available Picnic area Camping Restrooms
Mourning dove
Mourning dove

Private lands; state and federal holdings.
Elevation 1,600 - 3,200 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Follow Goldendale-Bickleton Hwy east from Goldendale. Rock Creek crossing makes a fine wayside stop. A longer, non-paved alternate route is Rock Creek Road to Newell Road and south on Dot Road and Old Highway 8 to Highway 14.

HABITAT: Agricultural fields and open range, shrublands of bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, and sage. Oak and ponderosa pine comprise woodlands on much of the higher plateau. Deciduous shrubs inhabit shallow creek beds; canyons contain alder and locust trees. Near Cleveland, stands of aspen are found.

BIRDS: Black-backed woodpecker occurs in burned forest. Typically heard from stands of oak, ash-throated flycatchers deliver an abrupt, “ki-brick” phrase to announce territories. Both loggerhead and northern shrike are possible along this route, though the latter is restricted to fall and winter.

Also watch and listen for: Swainson’s hawk; mourning dove; western screech-owl; common poorwill; Lewis’s woodpecker; gray flycatcher; mountain chickadee; pygmy nuthatch; rock wren; western and mountain bluebirds; vesper sparrow.

Bickleton: The Bluebird Capital of Washington
Parking available Picnic area Camping Restrooms

Mountain bluebird
Mountain bluebird
Jim Pruske photo

Private lands; state and federal holdings.
Elevation 1,000 - 3,000 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Bluebird Trail information at downtown market in Bickleton. Several side roads allow for exploration, but use caution as some roads are impassable when wet. East and Middle roads form a loop tour. Northeast of Bickleton, take County Line Road east to Sand Ridge Road, which joins Six Prong Road west of Alderdale.

HABITAT: Agricultural fields are widespread among open rangelands and native grassland. Riparian shrubs like willow and dogwood create corridors in seasonal creek beds. Junipers inhabit shallow canyons and dry washes. Springs provide water in the arid environment.

BIRDS: In winter, rough-legged hawks hunt small mammals on the plateau. Burrowing owls might be seen perching low in open areas. The upward spiraling tune of the horned lark is heard early in spring; sizeable flocks of these birds roam the region in winter. Western and mountain bluebird thrive along the historic trail of bird houses.
Other species include: American kestrel; prairie falcon; long-billed curlew; common nighthawk; western kingbird; loggerhead and northern shrike; violet-green and barn swallows; Bewick’s and house wrens; Brewer’s, vesper and grasshopper sparrows; western meadowlark; Brewer’s blackbird.

Columbia River and Foothills East of Rock Creek
Parking available Picnic area Restrooms
Savannah sparrow
Savannah sparrow
Brad Manchas photo

Private lands; state and federal holdings.
Elevation 300 - 1,800 feet

ACCESS: Year-round. Along Hwy 14, Sundale Park and Roosevelt Ferry Roads provide river access. From Roosevelt, head east on Hwy 14 to Alderdale Road, which leads to Alderdale and Six Prong Creek. Complete a loop tour by heading west on Six Prong Road which leads to East Road. Take a left on East Road and continue south back to Roosevelt. East of Sundale Park, take Old Hwy 8 to Dot Road as a side trip.

HABITAT: Open rangeland and shrub-steppe including sagebrush, with some areas in agricultural use. Shrubby thickets provide cover in canyons, along with stands of alder, poplar, and locust trees. Basalt cliffs and rocky slopes occur near the Columbia River shoreline.

BIRDS: Sagebrush obligates include loggerhead shrike, sage thrasher, Brewer’s and sage sparrows. Along the Columbia River, watch for American white pelican. Shorebirds are a major highlight including: black-necked stilt, American avocet, long-billed curlew, and Wilson’s phalarope. Rock wren call from exposed rimrock. Northern mockingbird has bred in this site. Other species include: eared grebe; great egret; black-crowned night-heron; blue-winged teal; ruddy duck; prairie falcon; chukar; sora; greater and lesser yellowlegs; semipalmated, western, least and pectoral sandpipers; Forster’s tern; common poorwill; bank swallow; lark, savannah, and grasshopper sparrows; American and lesser goldfinches.

Rare: American robin nesting in big sagebrush.