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 - from John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir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 Nature Trail Map

  • 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 =  Cutthroat Creek 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 (round trip) = 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.

     This trail is also located with a hunting area (typically September- January, check regulations for specific dates).

  • Greenhead Slough Trail

    Greenhead Slough Salmon

    Difficulty = EASY

    Length (one-way) = 0.5 mi/0.8 km

    Trailhead Location = Highway 101 between Bear River Bridge and Greenhead Slough Bridge near mile marker 20. Turn east at the bridge on the east side of the highway and drive into parking area. Enter trail past gate to the east of the parking area.

    This trail through the coastal forest offers views of restoring estuary, freshwater streams and wetlands. Years of habitat restoration and fish barrier removal projects have restored 150 acres of estuary and opened ten miles of freshwater streams for spawning and rearing by coho and chum salmon, cutthroat trout, and brook lamprey. A variety of songbirds, raptors and waterfowl can be seen. Access is by foot and bicycle only.
    This trail ends after 0.5 miles. Look for refuge boundary signs that mark the end of the trail and do not proceed further onto private property. This trail is also located with a hunting area (typically September- January, check regulations for specific dates).

  • 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. These trails are also located with a hunting area (typically September- January, check regulations for specific dates).

    Learn more about Long Island...

  • Leadbetter Point 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. These trails are also located within a hunting area (typically September- January, check regulations for specific dates).

    Discover more trail details…

  • South Bay Trail

    South Bay Trail Overlook 150 118

    Difficulty = EASY 
    Length(one-way) = 0.5 mi/0.8 km 
    Trailhead Location = Follow 95th Street east from Sandridge Rd to parking area.  Enter trail through the gate south of parking area.  


    The South Bay Trail winds through grasslands, coastal forests, freshwater and estuary wetland habitats and offers unparalleled views of Willapa Bay, one of the West Coast’s most pristine water bodies and important migratory bird habitats. The overlook at the end of the trail is a great place to see large flocks of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as bald eagles.  Lucky visitors may spot river otters, elk, and black bear. Access is by foot only. 

    The South Bay Trail Overlook was made possible by the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Templin Foundation, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Brothers Concrete, Inc., Willapa Bay Tile, Quatrefoil, Inc., Timberdoodle Studio, dedicated volunteers and refuge staff.

  • Tarlatt Slough Trail & Wildlife Viewing Blind

    Tarlatt Slough

    Difficulty = EASY

    Length (one-way) = 0.7 mi/1.1 km

    Trailhead Location Follow 95th Street east from Sandridge Rd to parking area.  Enter trail through the gate south of parking area.  Viewing blind is approximately 0.5 miles from the gate. 

    The trail and viewing blind have views of a seasonal wetlands, open fields and young coastal forests, and coastal prairie restoration areas. Raptors, sparrows, waterfowl and the occasional elk, deer and black bear can be viewed from here. Barn, tree and violet green swallows are abundant in the summer. Access is by foot only.

  • Porter Point Loop

    Porter Point Trail

    Difficulty = MODERATE, some elevation gain

    Length (one-way) = 2.4 mi/3.9 km

    Trailhead Location = Follow 67th Place east from Sandridge Road to end.  Parking area is located on the south side of road.  Enter trail through gate north of 67th Place, headed north.

    Restoration activities to reestablish the natural tidal cycles and increase habitat for estuary dependent species have recently been completed.  Tremendous views of Willapa Bay and large flocks of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl can be viewed on the bayside of the trail. This trail now forms a loop, entering a serene cedar swamp before climbing to and then descending from the ridgetop above Porter Point, ending back at the parking lot. Forest mammals are a rare but treasured sight, and raptors including bald eagles, northern harriers and American kestrels can also be seen.

    Note: This trail can flood at high tides.  Check tidal charts before entering the area.  Portions of this trail are also adjacent to hunting areas (typically September-January, check regulations for specific dates). Access is by foot only.