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Cassimer Bar, Washburn Island, mouth of the Okanogan

This route accesses a rich area along the north side of the Columbia River in the vicinity of the mouth of the Okanogan River. The Columbia River in the area of this route is a reservoir – Lake Pateros – impounded behind Wells Dam. A complex of interconnected wetlands, ponds, and offshoots of Lake Pateros, interspersed with active and abandoned agricultural lands, extends almost 3 miles east from the mouth of the Okanogan River and provides a mosaic of habitats with a rich diversity of birdlife.

Access and Logistics

From the South: From Brewster, travel north and east on SR 97 about 4 3/4 miles to SR 17.

From the North: From Okanogan – Omak vicinity, travel south on SR 97 about 22 miles to the intersection with SR 17.

From the East: From Bridgeport, travel north and west on SR 17 about 8 1/2 miles to SR 97.

The access to viewpoints of the mouth of the Okanogan River and to Cassimer Bar are located off of SR 97 west of the SR 97 / SR 17 intersection. The access to Washburn Island is located off of SR 17 east of the SR 97 / SR 17 intersection.


Mouth of Okanogan River. The access road to the viewpoint at the Fort Okanogan historical marker is graveled, but short and in good shape. Monse River Road is paved and very lightly travelled.

Cassimer Bar. Travelling on SR 97, about 1/2 east of the Okanogan River bridge or 1/2 west of SR 17, turn south onto Cassimer Bar Access Road. Drive 1/2 mile to where the road takes a right-angle bend to the left. At the bend turn right onto a minor road and drive for about 1/2 mile to a small parking area. This final 1/2 mile can be severely rutted, requiring considerable care in driving low-clearance vehicles. From the parking area, walk west along tree-fringed dikes separating ponds and wetland areas.

Washburn Island. The access road to the causeway parking area is paved at its upper end and gravel where it extends down to the parking area. With care the road is easily traversed by low-clearance vehicles. From the parking area, walk south along the causeway onto Washburn Island. The causeway road continues south across the island. A state Discover Pass is required for access onto Washburn Island.

Much of the land accessed along this route is public or is owned by Douglas County PUD and available for public access. With the open terrain, a spotting scope is useful. A spotting scope is essential for the viewpoint at the Fort Okanogan historical marker, which offers a wide-ranging vista over the entire area.

No services exist in the immediate vicinity of this route. Gas, food, and lodging can be found in Brewster and Pateros to the southwest, in Bridgeport to the southeast, and in Omak and Okanogan along the Okanogan River north of the route. Cell service is available over much of the route.

Major Habitats along Route
  • Open water / wetlands
  • Riparian deciduous
  • Agricultural fields
  • Shrub-steppe

Birds and Seasons to Visit

Seasons: Year-around; spring/early summer and winter are best

Birds: Waterfowl and other water birds; wading birds; passerines, especially during spring and fall migration; hawks, falcons, and owls

Side Trip

Chicken Creek Boat Launch. The access to this location is from SR 17, 1 mile southeast of the SR 97 / SR 17 intersection. A somewhat steep and rutted road, requiring care in driving, extends downhill about 1/2 mile to the boat launch and views over the impoundment that wraps around the east side of Washburn Island. Waterfowl and other water birds occur in season in notable numbers here.


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