Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

willapa national wildlife refuge hikingWalk old growth forests, watch fog rise into the hills, and listen. Let the wind, waves, and birds be your company. The Willapa National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a unique pocket of Pacific County where you can truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the environment. From Leadbetter Point on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula to Long Island and the shores of Willapa Bay, this refuge protects unique ecosystems and a rich biodiversity.

In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt established the refuge to protect the migratory flyway and over 200 species of birds that visit each year. But the refuge attracts more than just birds. Roosevelt elk, chum salmon, newts, bears, beavers, and other creatures call this place home.

Birders, photographers, and nature lovers find plenty to peak their curiosity. Coastal dunes, salt marshes, freshwater wetlands, muddy tidelands, and old growth forests are just a few of the unique habitats that make up the refuge. All you need to explore is a pair of hiking boots.

Wildlife comes first in the refuge. Be sure to review the refuge’s rules and regulations before you visit.

Trails in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

willapa national wildlife refuge art trailWillapa Art Trail – 0.25 mi.

Located next to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the art trail is a short and sweet hike for all skill levels. It commemorates the restoration of the small stream running beside the complex. Spot art installments and wildlife as you wander the trail.

Cutthroat Climb – 0.75 mi.

This trail also features art installments. The short trail is steep, though. It takes hikers through old growth hemlocks and ferns. Keep an eye out for interpretive signs to learn more about the forest and aquatic life in the stream.

Teal Slough – 0.3 mi.

This easy trail is a treat for tree lovers. The trail invites you to explore trees too big to hug as it meanders through the forest.

willapa national wildlife refuge teal slough hiking trail

Leadbetter Point Unit Trails

You will need a Discover Pass to explore the trails since this portion of the refuge overlaps Leadbetter Point State Park. When hiking during the rainy season (October-May), prepare for flooded portions of the trails. The state park provides a map of the trails here.

Long Island

For a truly one of a kind experience, plan a trip to Long Island. Accessible only by boat, visitors must plan around the tides to explore this island. Old logging roads on the island have been converted into over 10 miles of trails. There are 20 primitive campsites on the island. Learn more about camping on Long Island here.

willapa national wildlife refuge hiking on Long Island

Wings Over Willapa Festival

The Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge are hosting an inaugural festival for the birds this fall! Wings Over Willapa features classes, workshops, guided tours, and more for birders and nature lovers to enjoy. Plan ahead. The festival takes place Sept. 28-30!

Ready to start planning your trip to the Long Beach Peninsula? Contact us at (360) 642-2400 or ask@funbeach.com. You can download the free guide here or send us your address to receive a physical copy.

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