The Shorebird Loop Trail (1.7 miles roundtrip) is open during Visitor Center hours. This level gravel trail begins at the Visitor Center and features an observation kiosk and interpretive panels (see refuge map--478K pdf). The trail passes along seasonal freshwater wetlands, eventually leading to a permanent brackish pond and the eastern edge of Hookton Slough. Look for swallows and sparrows, listen for the marsh wren or secretive sora rail, and keep an eye skyward for raptors like the peregrine falcon and bald eagle.
To the southwest of the Visitor Center is the Hookton Slough Unit (see refuge map--478K pdf). This unit is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Hookton Slough Trail (1.5 miles one way) starts at the Hookton Slough Unit parking area and follows the west bank of Hookton Slough out and back. The trail is level, gravel-based, and has interpretive panels.
For a completely different experience, there are approximately 5 miles of trails that wind through the diverse dune ecosystem at the Ma-le’l Dunes Cooperative Management Area west of Arcata (see Dune Units map).
Restrooms are available at all refuge units with trails.
Use the Visitor Planning Guide to help plan your adventure to the refuge!
We hope you will enjoy this Geocache Adventure (18K pdf) as you follow the clues to the prize and learn about the Refuge. This is a special type of geocache since traditional geocaching is PROHIBITED on National Wildlife Refuges.
For a unique refuge experience, try the Humboldt Bay NWR Quest, "A Place In Between" (1.51 MB pdf). Quests are place-based “treasure” hunts in rhyme that can be undertaken by children and/or adults working together. It is a way for communities to celebrate their rich natural and cultural history, stories and special places. Questing is yet another way to encourage visitors from both near and far to utilize their senses to experience more of the special places we call home.
Although quests are increasingly common in the eastern United States, it is a relatively new idea that is just catching on in the west. The completion of the quest reveals a “treasure” box, containing a stamp unique and relevant to the quest, a sign in book asking for participant’s experiences, and other activities and games to use at the site.