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Plan Your Visit

Kayakers enjoy a quiet paddle around Long Island/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline KalbachWillapa National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Thousands of people come to the refuge each year to enjoy solitude, to commune with nature, and to share the joys of wildlife with family and friends. Regulation of recreation activities, such as use hours, hiking and camping in designated areas, and hunting, allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.

Hours

Visitors are welcome on the refuge during daylight hours only. Hunters are allowed to enter the refuge up to 1.5 hours prior to legal hunting times as set by the state. Nestled between the Columbia River, Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay, tides play a major role at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. We recommend you pay careful attention to the tide cycle as it will affect most of your activities from wildlife viewing to boating and hunting.

Visitor Information

The refuge office is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. The office is closed on all federal holidays. For more information, contact the refuge by phone at 360-484-3482 or by email.

Download a refuge brochure (PDF 372 KB)

Driving Directions

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge consists of several units in southwest Washington State. Caution: using a navigation system will direct you to downtown Ilwaco, not refuge headquarters. In general, we strongly recommend that you do not rely on an electronic navigation device to find your way around the refuge. The rural character of the area, inaccurate maps, and limited reception can lead you astray.

From Portland, Oregon, three different routes will lead to the Refuge:

  • Highway 26 west to Highway 101 north
  • Interstate 5 north to Washington State Route 4 west to Highway 101 south
  • Highway 30 west to Highway 101 north

From Olympia, Washington, two different routes will lead to the Refuge:

  • State Route 8 west to Highway 107 to State Route 101 south
  • Interstate 5 south to State Route 4 west to Highway 101 south

Headquarters Office 

Located near mile marker 24 on State Route 101

Long Island 

Boat access only. Launch facilities are located across from Refuge Headquarters or Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta. Learn more about travel to and camping on Long Island…

Riekkola, Porter Point and Lewis Units - (The Lewis Unit is closed to public access) 

Take 67th Place east from Sandridge Road - refuge gate is at the eastern end of 67th (please do not block gate). During hunting season (October - January), these units are open to wildlife observation on Tuesdays and Fridays, duck hunting on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, and goose hunting on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Learn more about hunting on the refuge

Tarlatt Unit 

Take 95th Place east from Sandridge Road - refuge gate is at the eastern end of 95th Place (please do not block gate)

Wildlife Viewing/Photography Blind (Tarlatt Unit) 

Take 85th Place east from Sandridge Road (sign will indicate Lone Fir Cemetery). Parking for one vehicle is available at the refuge gate located on the north side of the road approximately 300 m from the junction of Sandridge and 85th Place.

Leadbetter Unit 

The northern most portion of the Long Beach Peninsula is accessed via Pacific Highway (103) north to Stackpole Road north. A parking lot is available at the northern end of Stackpole Road (approximately 20 mi/31.2 km from State Route 101). A Washington State Discover Pass is required for parking at this location.

Visit our Trail Guide for more information on hiking access.

Fees

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge has no entrance fees. A Washington State Discover Pass is required for parking at the Leadbetter Unit Parking Area. A hunt fee of $5.00 is charged for blind access during the goose hunt.

Activities

The diverse habitats and locations of the refuge provide visitors with a wide-range of activities including boating, hunting, fishing, shellfish harvesting, hiking, camping, wildlife observation and photography. Discover more about the range of opportunities available…

Groups

Few refuge facilities are designed for large groups. The two locations that can accommodate a motor coach and groups over 10 individuals are the Willapa Art Trail, at our headquarters location on State Route 101, and the Viewing Platform at Leadbetter Point. Please encourage your group to stay on trails to minimize damage to important wildlife habitat. Keeping voices low, traveling in smaller groups, and using binoculars or spotting scopes will help individuals see more wildlife. To keep groups small and to use time more effectively, consider encouraging part of your group to use the restrooms while the other part walks the trail. You can split the group and have them walk loop trails in opposite directions.

Download a handout with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Groups (PDF 140 KB)

Page Photo Credits — Kayakers enjoy Willapa Bay - ©Dr. Madeline Kalbach
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2013
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