Florence Lake

Wilbur, Washington

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Wherever you find water in the desert, you’ll find wildlife, and this route offers further proof of that. With many small pools, puddles, and marshes formed by a series of seeps oozing from the ground, this part of the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area is rich in wildlife. One of the pools of water here is ringed with cattails and a host of robust trees, mostly Russian olive and hawthorn. These trees provide wonderful cover for a host of critters. Along the route, we spotted in the trees no less than six hawk nests and what looked like the nest of a great-horned owl. The water supports plenty of plant life, which in turn feeds armies of small birds and mammals. These in turn bring out the predators. The residents of those nests in the trees are usually seen soaring overhead—the hawks (both red-tailed and rough-legged) are the most numerous raptors, but you can also sometimes spot northern harriers, Cooper’s hawks, and kestrels.
Best Desert Hikes Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Desert Hikes Washington

by Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)

Wherever you find water in the desert, you’ll find wildlife, and this route offers further proof of that. With many small pools, puddles, and marshes formed by a series of seeps oozing from the ground, this part of the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area is rich in wildlife. One of the pools of water here is ringed with cattails and a host of robust trees, mostly Russian olive and hawthorn. These trees provide wonderful cover for a host of critters.

Along the route, we spotted in the trees no less than six hawk nests and what looked like the nest of a great-horned owl. The water supports plenty of plant life, which in turn feeds armies of small birds and mammals. These in turn bring out the predators. The residents of those nests in the trees are usually seen soaring overhead—the hawks (both red-tailed and rough-legged) are the most numerous raptors, but you can also sometimes spot northern harriers, Cooper’s hawks, and kestrels.

©  Alan L. Bauer & Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Wilbur
Distance: 4.5
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 2,200 feet
Top Elevation: 2,250 feet
Local Contacts: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Local Maps: Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Coulee Dam
Driving Directions: Directions to Florence Lake

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May 2018