Plan Your Visit

PlanYourVisit Sunset 512

Visit all the different units of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge!  From wetlands to dunes there is much to explore.


Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Richard J, Guadagno Headquarters and Visitor Center

1020 Ranch Road, Loleta, California 95551

(707) 733-5406, FAX (707) 733-1946

See what Visitor Activities Humboldt Bay NWR offers to plan your trip

HBNWR Weather Forecasts

Humboldt Bay Tide Tables


Salmon Creek Unit

The Richard J. Guadagno Headquarters & Visitor Center and the Shorebird Loop Trail are located at the Salmon Creek Unit.

The Salmon Creek Unit and Shorebird Loop Trail are open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., (except federal holidays)

In response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, restrooms and the Visitor Center are temporarily closed. These closures follow guidelines from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities.

Portable toilets are available in the parking area. Services are limited. Please be prepared to use your own hand sanitizer and or soap.

One of the main goals of Humboldt Bay NWR is to provide all sectors of the public with quality wildlife observation and wildlife photography opportunities. Once at headquarters, a universally accessible deck and short boardwalk attached to the Richard J. Guadagno Visitor Center provides a wildlife observation area for all visitors, including those with severe mobility challenges. The Shorebird Loop Trail (1.7 miles round trip) adjacent to the Visitor Center is level and consists of gravel and packed dirt. Trail maps and wildlife lists are available at the Visitor Center. Binoculars and a “Discovery Pack” are also available for checkout. Discovery packs include identification guides for plants, animals, tracks and scat, binoculars, magnifying glasses and a field notebook.The Visitor Center has stunning dioramas and a beautiful observation room equipped with telescopes. There are exciting things to see and do all year with peak wildlife viewing from November through March. Pets are not allowed

Hookton Slough Unit

The Hookton Slough Unit is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. The 3 mile trail (1.5 mi. out and 1.5 mi. back) starts in the parking area and follows the south bank of Hookton Slough. Visitors pass along grasslands, marsh, freshwater, saltwater, and mudflat habitats. The trail is level, graveled, and has interpretive panels. Maps of a boating trail that leads through Hookton Slough to South Bay can be found inside the Humboldt Bay NWR brochure. A boat dock for use by non-motorized boats is available to the public at Hookton Slough. There are also vault style restrooms at the parking lot. Pets are not allowed.

Ma-le'l Dunes Unit

The Ma-le'l Dunes Unit is accessible to the public 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.  While pedestrians and cyclists can access the parking area and trailhead everyday, gates along the road restrict vehicle access to Friday-Monday.  A picnic table, bike rack, interpretive kiosk, and vault toilet can be found in the parking lot. Pets are not allowed.

Lanphere Dunes Unit

The Lanphere Dunes Unit is accessible by permit or guided tour only. To obtain a permit visitors must first attended a guided tour.  Pets are not allowed. Contact Friends of the Dunes for a guided tour schedule (707) 444-1397 or visit





HBNWR Headquarters at the Salmon Creek Unit

Take Exit 696 off Highway 101. If northbound turn left and go west over the overpass and take the first right, then follow the entrance road north and west ~1.3 miles to the Headquarters. If southbound turn right and then immediately left onto the entrance road and proceed ~1.3 miles north and west to the Headquarters.

Ma-le'l Dunes Unit

Turn west onto Young Ln off of Hwy 255/Samoa Blvd. Turn right at the T following the signs to the Ma-le'l parking lot.  The parking area is approximate 3/4 mile down the road.  Remember, the road is only open to vehicles Friday through Monday, sunrise to 1 hr after sunset.

Lanphere Dunes Unit

From Janes Rd in Arcata, go west on Upper Bay Road which turns into Lanphere Rd until it dead ends.  Go through the pipe gate on the left for approx. 1/2 mile to the parking area and trailhead.  Remember, a permit issued by Friends of the Dunes is required in order to visit this unit.