Leadbetter Point Unit

A refuge visitor enjoys the sights from the Bay Loop Trail in the Leadbetter Point Unit/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach
  • The End of the Road

    Encompassing the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, Leadbetter Point is a landscape of sand dunes, grasses, seasonal wetlands, young forest and beaches. This is a place for wildlife. Limited human access creates a sanctuary for rare plants, hundreds of bird species, and a variety of insects and mammals. Leave your vehicle behind and discover this windswept place. View a map of Leadbetter Point...

  • Natural History

    Osyter shells, succlant dune plants and sand are a common site along the beaches in the Leadbetter Point Unit of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Leadbetter Point constantly changes as dunes shift, become stabilized or erode away. This is a place of sand covered with patches of dune grass, lupine, wild strawberry, sand verbena, sea rocket and beach pea. Potholes scoured by the wind between the dunes fill with winter rains and support stands of willow and freshwater marsh plants. The bay side of the point contains some of the most significant salt marsh habitats remaining in the state of Washington.

    Leadbetter Point provides food and cover for a diverse array of wildlife. Biologists have recorded over 100 species of birds on Leadbetter Point alone. Fall and spring migrations bring dizzying concentrations of shorebirds to refuge shores and tide flats. Learn more about the coastal dune habitat…

  • Cultural History

    Leadbetter Point before the invasion of non-native beach grasses/Historic Photo

    In 1788, explorer John Meares named this land of sand dunes, grasses and small shrubs Low Point. In 1852, the name was changed to Leadbetter Point in honor of Lt. Leadbetter of the U.S. Coastal Survey.

  • Access

    The parking area at the northern end of Stackpole Road offers ample parking, an informational kiosk and a restroom/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Follow the signs from Pacific Highway 103 to the northern end of Stackpole Road. A Washington State Discover Pass is required to park in the shared parking area. Beach driving in the refuge is only allowed during state-regulated razor clam digs. Between March and September, a portion of the Leadbetter Point Unit is closed to all public entry to protect nesting western snowy plovers.

  • Hiking

    Miles of trails await adventerous hikers at Leadbetter Point Unit of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    There are miles of foot trails at Leadbetter Point, both on the refuge and nearby Leadbetter State Park. These trails are flooded with deep water throughout the rainy season (October through May), so plan accordingly. Between March and September, look for posted signs that indicate the closed snowy plover nesting area. Be aware of hunting activity during winter months.

    Learn more about hiking and seasonal closures…

  • Wildlife Observation

    Using binoculars or a scope can help you view wildlife without getting too close to disturb them/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Peregrine falcons and bald eagles are among the most common raptors occurring at Leadbetter Point, and dramatic bursts of bird flight can be seen when these predators pursue their prey. Occasionally snowy owls or snow buntings can be seen in winter. A herd of Roosevelt elk roam the point, coyotes hunt the dunes, and flocks of forest birds forage in the small patches of trees and shrubs.

    The threatened western snowy plover and streaked horned lark nest here. Their well camouflaged eggs can be inadvertently stepped on by people. Incubating adults are easily frightened off the nests, allowing sand to cover eggs or predators to destroy them. A portion of the point is closed to all public entry during nesting season.

    Discover wildlife watching locations throughout the refuge…

  • Interpretation

    Signs located throughout the Leadbetter Point Unit provide orientation and interesting wildlife facts/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

    Several signs share information about Leadbetter Point and its wildlife. View the panel near the restroom in the parking area for orientation and fun wildlife facts. Learn about the diversity of shorebirds at the wildlife observation platform. On the bay side of the Bay Loop Trail, uncover the connection between brant and eelgrass. Approaching the ocean beach from the trails you’ll discover additional information about nesting western snowy plovers and what you can do to help these threatened birds.

  • Hunting

    Northern pintail are just one of the many species of waterfowl that rest and feed in the Leadbetter Point Unit of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Waterfowl hunting is permitted in the Leadbetter Point Unit. All state regulations apply. Find out more about hunting opportunities, seasons and regulations at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge...