Every region around the world has its own local mythology and collection of mythical creatures and cryptids.
A “cryptid” is a creature who is said to be real, but whose existence has never been proven. Or, at very least, its existence can’t be disproven by science…which means that you can claim to pretty much have seen anything.
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid because people believe that it exists and scientists don’t have a way to refute it. Dragons are mythological creatures because no one believes they exist in real life, as far as I’m aware.
The Pacific Northwest is home to many mythical creatures. Perhaps its the forests, perhaps it’s the fog, or perhaps its just the liberal drug laws in Washington and Oregon.
Whatever the reasons are, there are a bunch of creatures that may or may not exist that define PNW lore. So, if you’re going to be in the area, let’s talk about the ones you should keep an eye out for!
Mythical Creatures Of The Pacific Northwest
Perhaps the most recognizable entry on this list is the Sasquatch, which is the North American cousin of the Yeti, a similar group of creatures said to inhabit the Himalayas.
A Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, is a large ape-like creature who is claimed to live in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
If you’ve been to any gas station or gift shop in the PNW you’ve probably seen a million t-shirts and stickers with bigfoot on them. For whatever reason, sasquatch has become a defining image of the PNW, particularly of Washington.
There are many different versions of the tale, with some believing that there is a singular Sasquatch creature and others insisting that there are multiple who travel in groups.
There have been hundreds of reported encounters, footprints, and blurry photographs, but very little actual evidence for the creature’s existence, even in the PNW.
The Tah-tah-kle’-ah is a creature found in the mythology of the Yakama Tribe that lives on the Washington/Oregon border.
It is a combination of an owl and a witch that lures people away from their camps and leads them into the woods to kill them. Its victims are primarily children, who were led away by the Tah-tah-kle’-ah’s ability to mimic the voices of the tribe.
In many Native American cultures, the owl is a symbol of death, which may explain the origin of this particular creature.
Wally is one of the names given to the Wallowa Lake Monster in northeastern Oregon, similar to the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland.
As the local Nez Perce tell the story, during their war with the Blackfeet Tribe, the daughter of the Nez Perce chief fell in love with the son of the Blackfoot’s chief and they took canoes into the water to meet.
As both tribes realized what was happening, they pursued the couple and were met by a monster reputed to be 100 feet long, which then killed everyone there. To this day, the Nez Perce avoid sailing in the lake.
Despite the similar names and alleged proximity between the two, Batsquatch actually has no resemblance or relation to the Sasquatch. Except perhaps the size.
It is said to live near Mount St. Helens, the volcano that famously erupted in Washington in 1980. After that event, some residents reported seeing a giant ape-like creature who had blue or purple fur with yellow eyes, and giant bat wings.
A couple of friends hiking in 2009 claimed to have seen it and described it as resembling a giant winged version of former WWE Superstar Hulk Hogan.
Colossal Claude, if you believe such things, lives in the Columbia River, which forms a large part of the border between Washington and Oregon.
He was first sighted in 1934 by the crew of a boat also named The Columbia River, who claimed to have seen a creature 30 feet long with the head of a horse and a body that resembled a snake.
Many claimed sightings have taken place near Lincoln City, including a famous incident in which 30 tourists claim to have seen a creature whose description matches that of Colossal Claude.
Rocky, The Rock Lake Terror
Rocky, or The Rock Lake Terror, is another sea creature that lives in eastern Washington’s Rock Lake, near the Idaho border.
Much like the Nez Perce and the Wallowa Lake, the local Palouse Native Americans do not go to Rock Lake, as their legends tell of a giant serpent-like creature that once ate an entire tribe that lived nearby.
Although no drawings or images of Rocky exist, it is believed that he resembles a log while underwater, potentially to disguise his true appearance.
Although sightings of the Dogman have occurred in Oregon and Washington, it is not exclusive to those regions, with encounters as far away as Wisconsin and Arizona having been reported.
The Dogman, as the name suggests, is seven feet tall and resembles a wolf who typically walks on four legs. However, as soon as he is seen by humans, The Dogman will rise and walk away on his hind legs.
The creature or creatures are not considered a threat to humans, as his diet seems to consist primarily of roadkill and other animals who have already died.
The Conser Lake Monster
The Conser Lake Monster, also commonly known as “Flix,” has been described as appearing like a sasquatch or Bigfoot, but with white fur.
It has a hybrid habitat, being able to survive underwater as well as in the nearby forests near the town of Millersburg. It was first spotted in 1960 when locals say that a flying saucer crashed into the lake.
Conser Lake is now private property, however, which makes proof of the monster’s existence incredibly difficult.
Thunderbird is another creature that has been sighted outside of the region but is part of the mythology held by several Washington and Oregon Native American tribes.
The stories tell of a giant eagle that is large enough to carry a whale on its back. Its name comes from the belief that one of the first members of the species was responsible for creating thunder.
Although they had the potential to be dangerous, thunderbirds were seen as generous animals who would help the local tribes find food during times of famine.
The Lake Chelan Dragon
The Lake Chelan Dragon in north-central Washington has not been sighted for many years, although it is one of the oldest in the area, with the first newspaper stories about the beast being written in the late 1800s.
The legend is partially inspired by the local Native American tribes who believed that parts of the lake were bottomless, naming it Tsi-Laan, which translates as “Deep Lake.”
In 1940, a bus crashed into the lake and a team of divers underwent a search and rescue operation. One of the divers walked away from the sight and quit his job in fear of the creature that he believed he saw under the surface.
Gumberoos are a group of creatures reportedly seen by lumberjacks in Oregon throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s.
They resemble large bears, although they are hairless except for their long beards and bushy eyebrows. Their beard fur is so thick that bullets will bounce off, leaving the creatures unharmed.
They are known for their large appetites, eating anything and everything in their paths. They can eat a full-sized bear or elk and still be hungry. Fortunately, they are only said to leave their dens a few times a year.
Are They Real? and Other Final Thoughts
These are just a few of the monsters, cryptids, and mythical creatures said to live in the Washington and Oregon areas.
I can’t tell you for certain if any of these creatures are real or not, because I’ve never seen them in person.
If you’re interested in monster hunting in the Pacific Northwest, I’d recommend some of the lake-based ones. It seems easier than searching through miles and miles of forest on foot trying to find a sasquatch.
Whether you’re interested in searching for these monsters or if you looked up this list so you’ll know which places to avoid, Washington and Oregon are both excellent destinations for your next vacation in the Pacific Northwest!