Leadbetter State Park/Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Long Beach Peninsula
Wildlife and birds abound at Leadbetter Point. Snowy plovers nest on the outer coast (this area is closed in the spring and summer) and an inner bay offers great chances to see some shorebirds. We once saw a black bear in the park. It was lumbering across the trail and was greatly surprised (as were we) that it wasn’t alone. The bear took off in a flash and went crashing through the brush a proper reaction for a black bear.
We’ve hiked a large portion of Leadbetter Point. We’ve gone mainly in the off-season, early in the year, when the trails are largely still flooded. Most of the time with rubber boots, we’re able to hike across the peninsula out to the coast. We've also been on the trails when the water gets above our boots - the water is quite cold! Pretty much the entire park is hikable, with the exception of the protected area for the snowy plovers, and one could walk around the entire point (probably over a 10 mile hike). However, the inside of the point seems a little marshy and wet, making rubber boots very handy. During early spring, the mosquitoes are numerous and aggressive bug spray is a must.
There are several units of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. I’m most familiar with Leadbetter Point, but I have visited other units (Lewis and Riekkola) located on the southern most parts of Willapa Bay. They weren’t too exciting for me; there are waterfowl (and hunting), but not much hiking. We haven’t been to the Long Island in Willapa Bay, but it looks like a great place to stay and hike around. It’s only reachable by boat/kayak/canoe.
Greater White-fronted Goose
Great Blue Heron
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Other Critter List
California Sea Lion
Pacific Tree Frog
Located: Long Beach Peninsula, WA; in the southwest corner of Washington
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge