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Get Up Close With a Herd of Wild Elk

Get Up Close With a Herd of Wild Elk

Looking for a unique opportunity to see some wildlife without going too far from the car?

The elk have come down from the mountains to the Oak Creek Wildlife Feeding Station, and unlike last year, this winter’s deepening snow pack sent wild elk seeking grass at lower elevations, which means the Feeding Station is packed full of these huge animals!

Established in 1939, The Oak Creek Wildlife Area covers almost 95,000 acres between the Tieton and Naches Rivers, close to the intersection of Highways 12 and 410, just 30 short minutes from Yakima. The program is designed to help the elk survive the harsh winters in the Cascade Mountains.

You can see as many as 1,200 elk right from the parking lot, through the fence that borders the viewing area. Or if you want to get close to these impressive animals, take the open-air truck tour through the feeding grounds. The tours are on a first-come, first-serve basis, or if you make a reservation by calling 509-653-2390.

The Oak Creek Visitor Center is a great way to learn about the animals living in the Cascade Mountains. The whole family can stay warm while they watch the elk feed through the large viewing windows, and there’s also an educational video program, as well as exhibits and a kid’s corner. There is no charge to view the exhibits but donations are always welcome.

The Oak Creek Feeding Station is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the elk fed daily at 1:30 p.m. A Discover Pass is required for viewing the elk. The elk are fed from December through March, with January and February the best months for viewing, since this is when the most elk are present.  Be sure to dress warmly, bring a hot beverage and your binoculars.

If you want to see more wildlife while you visit Yakima, swing by the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center and pick up a Yakima Area Wildlife Viewing Guide. This colorful printed brochure is a valuable resource showing the areas to view birds and wildlife up-close in the Yakima Valley. The brochure includes a map to the natural areas and descriptions of the wildlife in the area.