Pacific Northwest Wildlife Trek

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST WILDLIFE TREK, WASHINGTON

NorthwesTrek Wildlife Park

While living in Washington, I learned of the NorthwesTrek Wildlife Park – a 723-acre park located in Eatonville, Washington.  The park has been in place since 1975 after a couple donated their land to Metro Parks Tacoma.

The wildlife park consists of three parts : the tram tour, the walking tour, and the nature trails.

The Tram Tour

The tram tour lasts almost an hour and winds you through 435 acres of meadows, woods, and lakes all while seeing wildlife native to the Pacific Northwest up close and personal.  Some animals you may find on the tour are bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, caribou and mountain goats.
I didn’t even use a zoom lens on these photos – that moose and bison were really that close to the tram.  Me being the animal lover I am, I was super excited when we got that close.
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northwest wildlife trek, washington

The gorgeous Pacific Northwest is still a spectacular view despite it’s consistent drizzling weather.

The Walking Tour

The walking tour gives visitors a chance to see some more predatory animals that aren’t able to be seen on the tram tour.  These include the grizzly bear, gray wolves, coyotes, red foxes, bobcats, cougars, and lynxes.  There also is a wetland and forest animal section that includes badgers, beavers, raccoons, river otters, wolverines, porcupines, and so on.  Raptor Road consists of bald eagles, barn owls, snowy owls, vultures and golden eagles.
The grizzlies and wolves were a highlight for me, but very difficult to take a decent photo of since they were hidden behind the bushes.
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Nature Trails

I, unfortunately, didn’t check out the nature trails while here, but they do have five miles of trails that all visitors have access to with admission to the park.

Thoughts?

While I’d much rather experience animals in the wild rather than in captivity, I felt fairly impressed with this wildlife park.  They have several conservation efforts in place and I think it’s also a fantastic educational tool that’s also fun for children especially on a local level.  I, of course, hate seeing animals locked up and so the animals that were part of the tram tour that had hundreds of acres to roam on seemed to have it way better.
While I love going to zoos, I felt like this wildlife park was even better than a zoo from the animals’ perspective.
Do you like visiting places like this?  Ever been on a similar wildlife trek?
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Ashley is the mastermind behind A Southern Gypsy, a travel blog focused adventure, outdoors, wildlife and Vegan food! In between bigger trips, she is delivering the best of her hometown, Nashville. Hates mustard & pickles. Needs coffee to function. Other passions | activism, minimalism, zero waste, books + writing.

34 Comments

  1. Jess

    March 15, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I love how you can see so many animals from the tram! That seems like a perfect way to get close.

  2. Rachel

    March 16, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    How fantastic to get so close to the animals! We have a few wildlife parks over here, and I much prefer them to zoos. I haven’t been to a zoo for about 5 years and won’t be going any time soon. I hate them. But wildlife parks, especially those focusing on native animals, they seem to be a happy compromise for their inhabitants. And you’re right, they are great educational tools.

  3. Caitlyn

    March 16, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    Looks like fun! We have a wildlife park in Melbourne where I’m from, that has animals all wandering around freely and it’s great – why can’t they all be like that?

  4. Emma

    March 16, 2014 at 4:20 AM

    What a great place, you got to see some amazing wildlife! 🙂

  5. Molly s

    March 16, 2014 at 5:13 AM

    It looks like an amazing place! I agree that I’d far rather see animals in the wild – I don’t really like zoos – but this seems like a great compromise. And fantastic to get that close!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:35 AM

      Thanks Molly! This is definitely preferable over zoos for me too 🙂

  6. frankaboutcroatia

    March 16, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    This post, and particularly the walking tour, reminded me of a park I’ve visited in Qubec. On arrival, the ranger gave us instruction about bear encounters: if you see a bear just clap your hands?! I don’t need to say that I’ve spent a bare minimum on that walking tour and that I was clapping my hands all the time. 🙂

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:35 AM

      Hahaha I can seriously picture you doing that Vera 🙂

  7. Samantha @mytanfeet

    March 16, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    I remember this! I went to Northwest trek for a field trip in elementary school. They didn’t have a whole lot back then, this was 15 years ago and it was just the tram, I don’t remember the walking trails and I heard they recently put in a zipline or something. It was pretty cool though to see a moose so close up as a small child, I remember having a ton of fun!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:34 AM

      Ahhh that’s a cool field trip! I saw the zipline when I went to their website to write this post…wish that was there when I went!

  8. Ace CB @ Life in Dutch

    March 16, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Great pictures! I’ve never made it to the Pacific NW, but hope to someday – these pictures just confirm that for me. =)

  9. Meggie Kay

    March 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    It looks beautiful! I’d love to be able to see wildlife like that. I spend way too much time in the city where the only wild animals are pigeons.

  10. Dave Cole

    March 16, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    This is like an American safari! Great shots of the animals, it’s amazing to get so close.

  11. Bob R

    March 16, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Another nice spot. I’m a big moose fan, even though they’re among the homeliest animals on the planet . 🙂

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      I love moose too! Really want to see one in the wild 🙂

  12. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey

    March 16, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    The tram? How cool of a way to see such amazing wildlife. Thats the way to go for someone a little lazy like me – and the elderly. Brilliant.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      It really is a great idea – especially for kids and the elderly and the lazy 😉

  13. Syd

    March 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    HOLY SHIT THE ANTLERS ON THAT FIRST GUY.

    I would not mess with him, if I were, um, the sort of person who messed with moose. Or a wolf or something.. But seriously, how does he hold his head up right?!?!

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  15. Sammi

    March 16, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    I am quite the fan of wild life parks especially if they’re attempting to help a species, or simply help animals who have gotten into trouble. The photos are great, amazing how close you were 🙂

  16. Lauren

    March 16, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    I don’t really care for zoos either but this does seem much better! It seems like they care about conservation efforts and there is lots of space for the animals to roam around! I would love to explore all of the trails.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      I wish I had explored the trails as well…oh well, another time! 🙂

  17. Adelina | PackMeTo

    March 17, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    I can’t believe how close you are to the animals! Especially on the tram. And wait, they wanted you to walk to see the bears? Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 18, 2014 at 7:23 AM

      Well, the bears were enclosed haha…now that would have been awesome 🙂

  18. Travis

    March 18, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Great post Ashley! This looks like a pretty good experience. I’ve been to a number of parks like this and think they offer so much for animal lovers. Plus, North America has a ton to offer in the wildlife department. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ashley Hubbard

      March 19, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      Thanks so much Travis! And, you are so right 🙂

  19. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs

    March 30, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Wow, I can only say wow, I definitely want to do this trek!!!!

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