Explore the Audubon’s Great Washington State Birding Trail

Grab your binoculars. An abundance of birdwatching opportunities await.

Washington is a large state, and its diversity of climate and habitats – open ocean coastline, sheltered bays, wetlands, coniferous forests, and dry grasslands – make it a birding paradise. The state is home to 346 annually recorded bird species and phenomenal birdwatching areas.

Novice and expert birders alike can play “I Spy” along Audubon’s Great Washington State Birding Trail, available as a series of maps through Audubon Washington.

The Great Washington State Birding Trail

The Audubon's Great Washington Birding Trail features 7 loops throughout different regions of the state. With more than 300 stops in all, here’s what to expect along the way.

Cascade Loop

This loop in northwest Washington takes visitors along the coast and into the Cascade Mountain Range. Along the way you'll find seabirds, bald eagles, snow geese, and trumpeter swans, which flock to the Skagit Valley in great numbers during the winter.

Coulee Corridor

This route along the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway offers birds in abundance, with more than half of the state's annually recorded bird species spotted here. Thousands of sandhill cranes migrate here in spring and fall. The shrub-steppe and semi-arid desert landscape is also home to dozens of public lands perfect for a birding pit stop.

Olympic Loop

Circles through hushed rain forest and raucous Pacific coastline. Marbled murrelets hide in the Olympic National Forest’s old-growth Douglas firs, and wandering tattlers search for an evening’s dinner along surf-thrashed shores.

Palouse to Pines Loop

Of Washington's 346 annually recorded bird species, 215 of them reside along this trail. Most notably, the mighty rivers, ponderosa pine forests, and lake-graced deserts of Eastern Washington draw tundra swans by the thousands.

Puget Loop

This loop can be traveled by car, bus, or ferry and spans from Seattle to Mount Rainier and includes the Kitsap Peninsula, Vashon, Bainbridge, Whidbey, and San Juan islands. Expect to spot bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, Pacific wrens, Anna’s hummingbirds, and more.

Southwest Loop

Expect diversity of both birds and landscapes: pelicans over open water, herons in wetlands, and falcons gliding over mountains. Along the sandy coastline, watch for dunlin and sanderling shorebirds.

Sun and Sage Loop

Ogle great horned owls and red-tailed hawks swooping above wildflower-dappled meadows and deep canyons. In the heart of Washington’s wine country, the Whitman Mission National Historic Site just outside Walla Walla offers 98 acres of all-season beauty and birding.

Find more birdwatching destinations here.