Because non-consumptive appreciation of butterflies is central to our purpose, collecting is not permitted on our field trips or at our conferences.  The only exception is when a voucher specimen is needed and its taking is approved by a majority of the board members present.  Limited collecting of eggs, larvae and pupae for rearing is accepted on condition that individuals raised to adult stage are released to a suitable habitat where the species already occurs.

Washington Butterfly Association schedules field trips in April thru August weather and butterflies permitting.


Field Trip Liability Release and Indemnity Agreement

Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk for a Minor Child Not Accompanied by his or her Guardian

NOTE: No child under the age of 18 who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian will be allowed on any field trip without a liability release signed by the parent or guardian as well as by the adult accepting responsibility for the child on the trip.


Trip Leader Check List

Frequently Asked Questions

Before signing up for a Field Trip, please read our FAQ.

2023 Field Trip Plans

Please note that we are not calling it a schedule this year, but a plan!  After last year‘s weather fiascos and resulting trip cancellations, we are trying something new.  Some of the trips will have set dates.  However, others will have the date listed as TBD (To Be Determined).  You will need to sign up for a trip, to be notified when the actual date is.

WBA will continue to monitor and adapt to COVID levels and guidelines for our state.

Perhaps as the season progresses, a few more trips will be added.  Keep watch for Noticeline announcements of any “Flash” field trips that may occur throughout the season.  Possibilities may include:  Western Pygmy Blue sightings, Coronis Fritillary migration, late season fliers.

Elfin Quest, Hoodsport, late April, TBD

Led by Melanie Weiss

Walk along forest roads and power line corridors where Hoary, Moss’s, Brown and Western Pine Elfins are know to fly, along with Bramble Green Hairstreak. The walking is easy, but there may be some ups and downs along the roads.  Level 2-3.

Sign up with Melanie:

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, south of Olympia, mid May, TBD

Led by Regina Johnson

No Nets, and Stay On Trail. Camas, spring butterflies, and grassland birds.
But, please note that Mima Mounds is right next to a busy gun club; if you
are very gun-shy, this is not the trip for you. It is perfectly safe, just it can be
very loud. Difficulty level 2—no slopes, some paved ADA-accessible trail
as well as gravel.

Regina Johnson, 

Klickitat River, last week of May to first week of June, TBD

Led by Jim Reed

A second attempt after last year’s cancelled trip. Come see the newest and perhaps rarest butterfly in Washington.  A small colony of Satyrium auretorum, Gold Hunter’s Hairstreak, is located along the Klickitat River in South Central Washington.  The nearest neighbor colonies are from the very Southern border of Oregon. Gold-hunter’s Hairstreak field trip(s) will be held during the last week of May into the first week of June.  It is a very small area so we will limit ourselves to groups of 6 or less. People would need to make appointments so we could spread out the trips over a week.  There often are a good variety of swallowtails, admirals and blues along the trail. People who would like to be guided into where the isolated colony can be found should contact:

Jim Reed (cell:  541 490 4211  or email:  jrrstud    Limited to 6 participants per trip with multiple trips over several days, Level 1-2.

San Juan Island, target species Island Marble, May 31 – June 1

Led by Melanie Weiss 

Our two day visit will include observation and volunteer activities. We are arranging with On Sacred Ground Land Trust for an opportunity to perform habitat restoration for the endangered Island Marble. In addition, we will be given a short tour of the rearing lab by the park biologists, and will be led to several sites where the species is known to fly.  National Park; No Nets.

Please sign up ASAP if you are interested.  Group size will be limited to 10 participants.   Links for campgrounds, some opening for reservations on March 1, will be sent to participants.  We have been advised to make camping or lodging reservations early for this popular island.  A ferry ride is part of the fun.  Level 2.

Sign up with Melanie Weiss:

Boulder Creek, Okanogan County, Early June, TBD

Led by Cheryl Bellin

Explore several roadside areas on the way to Freezeout Ridge. Target species is the Freija Fritillary which resides in Washington state only in this northern region of Okanogan County. Blues, elfins, duskywings and swallowtails are also likely. As time permits we will swing by a Cub Creek hotspot which last year resulted in 28 species for the day. All wheel drive and higher clearance recommended.  Limited to 10-12 participants, Level 2.
Sign up with Cheryl: 

‘Monarch weekend’, June 10-11, may be one or two days, TBD

Led by David James

A visit to one or two Monarch breeding sites along the Columbia and/or Snake Rivers (eg Crab Creek, McNary Dam) to spot the (hopefully) newly arrived migrant Monarchs from California. If we don’t see Monarchs, we will delight in the heavenly scent of Milkweed in peak bloom and likely see Viceroys!  Level 2.

Sign up with David James:

LeonaLand: last 2 weeks of June

Led by David James

A trip to the High Pumice Desert of Central Oregon to see the world’s smallest and rarest butterfly. Leona’s Little Blue occurs only in a 15 square mile high desert area east of Crater Lake National Park. Join David James for his annual monitoring of the population of this charismatic but vulnerable butterfly. Precise dates to be decided in late May.

Email if you are interested, for further details.

Bethel Ridge, June 24

Led by David James

A favorite high-elevation site west of Yakima that should be in peak bloom with abundant butterflies. A good selection from all families should be present, including Western Sulphurs and Mountain Parnassians.  Level 1 – 2

Sign up with David James:

Big Four Ice Caves, July 5 & Aug 21, weekdays 

Led by David Droppers

Due to the crowds, these will be weekday trips.  Sign up for one or both trips.  Highly recommended that if you make one, you should try to make the other – always fun to see what a difference a few weeks makes in the fauna.  Level 2.

Sign up with David Droppers:

First Creek (off Reecer main road) at ~6000′, July 15

Led by David James

Expect to see anywhere from 20-30 species at this newly discovered site, including six fritillary, four white/sulphur  and three checkerspot species.  With expert WBA eyes focused on this habitat, we may well turn up additional species!  We will be hiking up or down the creek for a mile or two, then return the same way.  Level 3.

Sign up with David James:

WBA Butterfly Weekend, July 21-23. Metaline Falls.

We will be based at the Historic Washington Hotel in Metaline Falls and fan out
from there for our field trips. Lodging and camping facilities are somewhat limited so don‘t delay in making reservations.

For more information, watch webpage

Cancelled – White Pass exploratory trip, early August, TBD, one weekend day.

We will explore under the chair lifts at the ski area, the Nordic area, and various
lakes/ponds/wet meadows/campgrounds along the highway and the PCT. Difficulty Level 3.

Regina Johnson:   

Cancelled – Big Four Ice Caves,  Aug 21, Monday

Led by David Droppers

This is a followup to David’s earlier July 5 trip. Always fun to see what a difference a few weeks makes in the fauna.  Attend either trip, or both.  Level 2.

Sign up with David Droppers: 

Crystal Mountain, Aug. 25, Friday

Led by Regina Johnson, Melanie Weiss

A repeat of last season’s popular trip.  We will take the gondola up to the top of the ridge and butterfly in the alpine meadows along a trail with stunning views and late season fliers and flowers.  Gondola fees will be part of this trip, although you may choose to hike down rather than ride down.  Limited to 12, Level 3. 

Sign up with Regina Johnson:   

Location TBD based on current ‘hot’ spots, moved from Aug. 4 to early September

Sign up with Cathy Clark:   

Dan Dunphy: 

And now for something completely different:

A Royal Tour of the Western Monarchy: Thanksgiving week (November 19-25)

Tour of up to 25 Monarch butterfly overwintering sites from Pismo beach north up the coast to Marin County over 5-6 days with David James. See well-known winter aggregation sites like Pismo Beach and Pacific Grove, but also lesser-known sites in places like Cambria and Bolinas.

Email if you are interested, for further details