Naturalist Trip - The Okanogan


Naturalist Trip - The Okanogan

Winter birding trip to the Okanogan. We will stay in Omak and do day trips out from there, looking for wintering finches, hawks, and other specialty birds of Northcentral Washington. This will be a car-based trip with short walks along the rural roads and a few trails. We will also look at a few geologic features.

  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 2.0

We will track the weather and the condition of the passes to make sure we can have this trip. 

Days in the field will be Saturday, Sunday, and half of Monday, 13-15 January; Friday (12 January) is a travel day to get there. Starting Saturday, January 13th, we will leave at 7:00 AM from the lobby of the Omak Inn (912 Koala Ave, Omak). Friday, the leaders will scout some places on the way up, and people are welcome on that part, too.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, leave at 7:00 AM from the lobby of the Omak Inn (Koala Drive) for the day’s birding. We will finish on Saturday and Sunday around sundown and return to the motel to relax and find dinner. We will break up as a group on Monday by early afternoon and head home.

The trip leaders are staying at the Omak Inn (509 826 3822) on Koala Drive, just on the north side of Omak. There are other motels in the area. The Omak Inn has a continental-style breakfast, and small refrigerators in the rooms. This has been comfortable in years past. You are welcome to stay anywhere you want.

Donna called and got a special rate. If people want to take advantage of our group rate, they should mention Seattle Mountaineers when they make their reservations.  Also, please let Donna know if you make reservations so she can keep track of the number of blocked rooms taken.  We can add more rooms to the block, if needed.

Dates:  Jan 12-15, 2024, 3 nights, check in Friday and out on Monday.

Location:   Omak Inn, Omak

Rates:  Single (King bed) room:  $70 + tax / night     $231.84 for 3 nights, includes tax

           Double room:  $80 + tax/ night


The cancellation policy, which people should confirm on their own, is 24-hour notice. Since check-in is at 3 pm, that would be at least 24 hours prior to check-in time.

We will try to carpool on Saturday and Sunday to reduce the number of cars on the rural roads. On Monday, we will check out and all travel together.

On Saturday and Sunday, we will be birding the Okanogan, heading north to Tonasket one day and then up into the Highlands. On the other day, we will head south, driving Cameron Road and the Brewster Area. We may head to Conconully, too. Finally, on Monday, we will check out and head to the Waterville Plateau, ending by early afternoon so folks can head home.

Everyone must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Bring masks for use when needed.

An all-wheel-drive car is recommended for Saturday and Sunday, and we will try to carpool on those days to accommodate everyone. The roads are all paved or gravel and should be good. I’ve done this trip in the winter using a Prius, but all-wheel drive is really recommended for Saturday and Sunday. The roads on the Waterville Plateau are all good.

You should bring stuff to make lunches for each day. We will either go into Omak for dinner at a restaurant on Saturday and Sunday or people can find take-out. There are plenty of stores.

Bring lots of layers and be prepared for cold and windy weather. I’ve done this trip a bunch of times, and the weather has varied a lot. You should expect freezing temperatures and maybe snow in the fields.



The trip leaders plan to use playback judiciously. This will consist of “psshing” and the occasional use of recordings played through a speaker. We will be careful doing this and do it in places where it would cause less disturbance than other ways of searching. The trip leaders worry about the disturbance caused to winter birds by being present and have worked hard to minimize disturbances. We understand that some people are opposed to using playback. You may not want to sign up for this trip if you are one of those.


The Okanogan

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Bring layers, binoculars, a scope if you have one, lots of layers, hot and cold drinks, lunch, snacks.

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
Trip Reports