Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex Headquarters
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
Richard J. Guadagno Headquarters and Visitor Center is located at the Salmon Creek Unit and is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm (except Federal holidays). 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 guides, wildlife lists, and plant 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.
Hookton Slough Unit
The Hookton Slough Unit is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The 1.5 mile trail (one way) 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.
Ma-le'l Dunes Unit
The Ma-le'l Dunes Unit is accessible to the public 7 days a week from sunrise to 1 hour after 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.
Lanphere Dunes Unit
The Lanphere Dunes Unit is accessible only by permit or guided tours. To obtain a permit visitors must first attended a guided tour. Contact Friends of the Dunes for a guided tour schedule (707) 444-1397. A kiosk at the trailhead provides maps and brochures.
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.
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.
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.
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The leafcutter bee (Megachile wheeleri) is one of the of specialized, solitary, ground-nesting bees that are crucial to the survival of our native dune mat community. The leafcutter bee, shown here pollinating dune goldenrod, cuts semi-circular pieces from goldenrod leaves and uses them to construct its nest cell. Native bees are gaining increased attention as pollinators due to the decline of the imported honey bee (Apis mellifera) through colony collapse disorder. Photo courtesy of Andrea Pickart.