Yakima River Canyon

Ellensburg, Washington

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Late spring is the time to make the scenic drive along the meandering Yakima River as it slices through the Yakima River Canyon between Ellensburg and Selah. The canyon cuts a deep gash through the anticline ridges that march in a line to the south from Ellensburg—Manastash Ridge and Umtanum Ridge—and the river offers a great corridor for the passage of birds and butterflies. Visit the site in May and you are likely to find Yellow-breasted Chat and Lazuli Bunting along Umtanum Creek while small blue butterflies feed on wildflower blooms and Osprey pick their nest sites in the pine trees along the riverside. Habitats: Lowland riparian, mixed forest, shrub-steppe. Specialty birds: Golden and Bald Eagles; Northern Goshawk; Swainson’s Hawk; Chukar; Vaux’s Swift; Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous Hummingbirds; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Dusky Flycatcher; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Pine Grosbeak.
Birding Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Birding Washington

by Rob and Natalie McNair-Huff (Falcon Guides)

Late spring is the time to make the scenic drive along the meandering Yakima River as it slices through the Yakima River Canyon between Ellensburg and Selah. The canyon cuts a deep gash through the anticline ridges that march in a line to the south from Ellensburg—Manastash Ridge and Umtanum Ridge—and the river offers a great corridor for the passage of birds and butterflies.

Visit the site in May and you are likely to find Yellow-breasted Chat and Lazuli Bunting along Umtanum Creek while small blue butterflies feed on wildflower blooms and Osprey pick their nest sites in the pine trees along the riverside. Habitats: Lowland riparian, mixed forest, shrub-steppe. Specialty birds: Golden and Bald Eagles; Northern Goshawk; Swainson’s Hawk; Chukar; Vaux’s Swift; Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous Hummingbirds; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Dusky Flycatcher; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Pine Grosbeak.

©  Rob and Natalie McNair-Huff/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Ellensburg
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best spring, summer, and fall
Trailhead Elevation: 1,300 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Local Contacts: Wenas Wildlife Area
Driving Directions: Directions to Yakima River Canyon

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May 2018