The Great Washington State Birding Trail - Olympic Loop
Bird watching is a popular national outdoor recreation activity. National Audubon Society has taken the lead in developing birding trails in order to provide a high-quality, satisfying experiences for a growing number of bird watchers.
Eighteen states, including Washington, have created birding trails. These trails are actually self-guided driving tours using custom maps with information on each site about habitat, access, bird species, best seasons, and amenities.
The Olympic Loop - A partnership effort
Lead by the efforts of Audubon Washington, the Olympic Loop of the Great Washington State Birding Trail begins from the quiet Nisqually River delta in south Puget Sound, leads west to wild Pacific breakers, follows rivers through moss-draped forests, and touches the tip of the contiguous U.S. at Cape Flattery. The route traces the Strait of Juan de Fuca east over the Olympic Peninsula, and wends south along the inland waters of Hood Canal.
The Olympic National Forest was an enthusiastic partner in this effort. Wildlife and Recreation staff on the Olympic National Forest were instrumental in securing funding to provide assistance in site review and the creation of the map and spend time with Audubon volunteers in making recommendations for bird sites. Over 120 sites were nominated along the 400-mile route, however in the end 54 sites – including four in the Olympic National Forest – made the final cut for inclusion in the Olympic Loop. Along the Hood Canal, Hamma Hamma Beaver Pond and Mt. Walker Viewpoint were selected as great locations to bird watch at inland forest beaver pond, and view birds flying in the forested canopy, and along the Pacific Coast side, the Lake Quinault Rainforest Trail and Campbell Tree Grove Campground were considered jewels for viewing and hearing birds of the temperate old growth rainforest.
Other partners in four Washington counties include the Olympic National Park, four national wildlife refuges, state and local parks, as well as the natural and cultural history of six Native American tribes: Jamestown S’Klallam, Makah, Quileute, Quinault, Skokomish, and Squaxin.