Spring in the Washington Cascades: Jun 03—09, 2018

A Relaxed & Easy Tour

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Price: $2,395
Departs: Seattle
Tour Limit: 10
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (121.6 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...


James Purcell

James Purcell has been birding since the age of nine when he got his first bird feeder in hi...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

White-headed Woodpecker

White-headed Woodpecker— Photo: Ginger Livingston Sanders/shutterstock


Wonderful spring Northwest birding based at a comfortable lodge in a lovely natural setting, along a rushing mountain river. Diverse birds and wildflowers of mountains, canyons, sage, and potholes.

Leavenworth, Washington is an ideal venue for a late spring nature tour in the Cascades. The picturesque town sits at the foot of Icicle Canyon in the Cascade Mountains, on the north side of the monumental Alpen face of Mt. Stuart. Our lodgings are tucked alongside the rushing Wenatchee River. Every room at the inn has a balcony overlooking the river, where you can sit and watch families of Yellow-bellied Marmots and such birds as Pygmy Nuthatch and Common Merganser. White-headed Woodpeckers often nest nearby. The inn is just a few minutes from Icicle Creek and other fast-flowing streams, where American Dippers bob on the rocks and Harlequin Ducks nest. In late May, wildflowers carpet the forest floor and canyon roadsides.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager— Photo: Laura Mountainspring/shutterstock


The tour begins in Seattle, and most of the birding will take place east of the crest of the Cascades Mountains. With four nights in Leavenworth, we’ll explore a variety of sites within reasonable driving distance, including beautiful Icicle Canyon. On one day, we’ll explore the full length of a canyon in the nearby Entiat Mountains. Beginning at the rocky cut of the Columbia River, our drive passes through towering rimrock cliffs, sagebrush, and then higher into Ponderosa pine stands, mixed conifers, and right up into aspen-rimmed beaver bogs. Bird possibilities are as diverse as the habitats. Brilliant Lazuli Buntings, noisy Yellow-breasted Chats, and tiny Calliope Hummingbirds are regular sights along the canyon road. We’ll watch for such birds as Northern Pygmy-Owl, Red-naped Sapsucker, Say’s Phoebe, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, and Cassin’s Finch, among many others. We will explore the back roads of the Wenatchee Mountains too, where Williamson’s Sapsuckers nest at higher elevations and Hermit Thrushes sing all day. At passes in the Cascades Mountains, we’ll search out the lovely Varied Thrush and tiny Pacific Wren.

Another day takes us into the nearby sage country, home to nesting Sagebrush Sparrows, Sage Thrashers, and Brewer’s Sparrows, as well as Mountain and Western bluebirds. During the course of the tour, we may see eight or more woodpecker species (including three sapsuckers) and nine flycatchers.

Although one cannot hope to see all the birds of Washington in such a short tour, this tour incorporates some of the richest spring birding possibilities in the Northwest, with the convenience of staying most nights at one lodging while exploring diverse areas within a reasonable driving distance.

Nice accommodations and very good cuisine; easy, non-strenuous walking; comfortable, moderate weather.