Take a Hike! Willapa Trail Guide

Local students enjoy a walk through Long Island's forest/USFWS Photo

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." - from John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

  • Willapa Art Trail

    Make friends with this small frog along the Willapa Art Trail/Photo Courtesy of Richard Nocol


    Length (one-way) = 0.25 mi/0.4 km

    Trailhead Location =  at Refuge Headquarters near milepost 24 on State Route 101, trail starts through the green pedestrian gate in the southwest corner of parking area

    Note: Boardwalk can be slippery when wet or icy. Please use caution during winter months.

    Commemorating the restoration of the small stream, art pieces are placed along the curving boardwalk to tell the stories of the waterway and the many species that live there. Students from the University of Washington Public Arts Program designed, constructed, and installed the artwork for the trail under the direction of professors John Young, Ian Robertson, and Jim Nicholls.

    Take a virtual art tour...

    Learn more about the trail...

  • Cutthroat Climb

    These brightly painted birds lead your way along the Cutthroat Climb/USFWS Photo

    Difficulty = MODERATE, some stairs

    Length (one-way) = 0.75 mi/1.2 km Loop

    Trailhead Location = leaves from the Willapa Art Trail

    Artist Becca Weiss's birds are your companion as the trail rises - and then falls - steeply through the deep-woods of old-growth hemlocks and ferns. The trail has some wooden steps. Be sure to watch you footing as the trail may be slippery and tree roots may cause tripping hazards.

    Along the trail are interactive signs with the tracks of forest inhabitants and silhouettes of aquatic life to challenge your wild knowledge.

  • Teal Slough

    Ancient trees tower over hikers on the Teal Slough Trail/USFWS Photo

    Difficulty = EASY

    Length (one-way) = 0.3 mi/0.5 km

    Trailhead Location = 1.6 mi/2.6 km northeast of the refuge headquarters office on State Route 101. Parking is available on the south side of the road in a pullout in front of a gate. Please do not block gate access. The trail follows the old road behind the gate for ~300 ft/91 m where a small sign directs you to the east traveling trail. View a trail map

    Although this remnant coastal old-growth forest is home to marbled murrelets, and Dunn’s and Van Dyke’s salamanders, they are rarely viewed by the casual observer.

  • Leadbetter Point Unit Trails

    Pickleweed is a common and unique plant found along the quiet shores of Willapa Bay/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Difficulty = EASY - MODERATE 

    Length (one-way) = varies

    Trailhead Location = at the northern terminus of Stackpole Road

    Located at the tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, trails wind through coastal woodlands, salt marshes, bay and ocean beaches, and link the Leadbetter Unit of the refuge with the adjacent Leadbetter Point State Park. These trails are often flooded with deep pools of water during the rainy season (October through May), so plan accordingly. A Washington State Discover Pass is required to park at this location.

    Discover more trail details…

  • Long Island Trails

    Refuge visitors enjoy a walk through the fern-laden woods of Long Island/USFWS Photo

    Difficulty = MODERATE

    Length (one-way) = varies

    Trailhead Location = Long Island is accessible only by boat. Most visitors utilize the boat ramp located at the Refuge Headquarters near milepost 24 on State Route 101. 

    A network of old logging roads converted to trails provides over 10 mi/16.1 km of hiking opportunities. One of the most popular destinations is the Don Bonker Cedar Grove Trail, a 0.75 mi/1.2 km loop trail near the center of the island. To get to this location, land your boat at the old ferry landing on the southern tip of Long Island and follow the center road north, the trail to the Grove is ~ 2.5 mi/4 km from the landing. ***Caution: tides and adverse weather conditions can make boating on Willapa Bay dangerous.

    Learn more about Long Island...