Hike of the Month: Wenas Wildlife Area

This area has fantastic wildflower blooms, starting with grass widows, yellow fawn lilies, and Columbia desert parsley and giving way to arrowleaf balsamroot and phlox as the season progresses. The Wenas Wildlife area is best known for its bird watching, so be sure to print a copy of the Wenas Audubon birdlist prior to a visit here and see how many of the recorded 257 bird species known to visit the area you can find during your trip! Within the camping area and along the creek the area is mainly forested with a mix of pine, Douglas fir, and cottonwood, but those who choose to ascend the surrounding hillsides will also find open meadow areas and good views of the Cascade range to the west.

Consider trying this hike to coincide with the Audubon Camp weekend in early June. Or come at a different time to enjoy the campground and surrounding recreation opportunities in a self-guided fashion. Audubon Camp is a DNR-managed campground at the edge of the Wenas Wildlife Area, open to dispersed camping with a Discover Pass. There are numerous dispersed campsites throughout a large bench along North Fork Wenas Creek. Vault toilets are available in several locations within the dispersed camping area.

The nearby Green Dot road system trails are open to both motorized and non-motorized recreation. One hiking option is to explore this shared-use trail system on foot as it ascends the hillsides near the camping area.

For a quieter hiking experience, follow North Fork Wenas Creek north from the campground. An old logging road runs parallel to the creek, open to non-motorized recreation but not part of the Green Dot motorized trail system. This trail has good wildlife viewing opportunities as a short out-and-back hike of about 2 miles, as well as options to use map and compass to explore intersecting trails that ascend nearby hills for good views.

Getting There: Wenas Wildlife Area is located 22 miles northeast of Selah, Washington. At the main gate (closed annually from December 15-April 30), continue on Audubon Road 3 miles to Hog Ranch Road. Turn left on Hog Ranch Road and continue to the campground. Discover Pass required.

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