Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Ilwaco

4.3
#7 of 10 in Things to do in Ilwaco
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (where the Complex Headquarters is located) was established in 1937 and contains over 16,000 acres of tidelands, temperate forests, ocean beaches, sand dunes, and streams. The Refuge preserves habitat for spawning wild salmon, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds, and threatened species such as the snowy plover and marbled murrelet.

Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 and includes approximately 20 islands stretching over 27 miles of the Columbia River, from the mouth upstream nearly to Skamakowa, WA. Although rarely visited by humans, people following in Lewis and Clark's footsteps (or paddles!) are discovering this little-known refuge.

Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbian White-tailed Deer was established in the 1972 to preserve habitat for the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer (CWT deer). The CWT deer–the only white-tailed deer found west of the Cascade Mountains–had been believed to be extinct since the 1930s. When a small remnant population was discovered in the early 1960s, the refuge was established to preserve the species.
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Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
30 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Even when we came here there was a heavy fog this place looked amazing. Just charming and mysterious. A lot of animals and birds around. Worth it.  more »
  • Our friends wanted to share this Art Trail with us and we are glad they did! It is difficult to describe but was a walk that had incorporated art into nature. One needs to walk slowly and really notic...  more »
  • We visited Willapa National Wildlife Refuge on our drive from Astoria to Seattle. It is an important bird area, Bear and moose are also in this area. The refuge is 11,000 acres. It is a variety of sal...  more »
Google
  • The headquarters may not look that big, but the wildlife refuge is huge. It encompasses much of the lower bay, all of Long Island, and the top of Long Beach Peninsula. The visitor center has artistic boardwalks that introduce you to the ecosystem of Willapa Bay, its tidal flats, and feeder rivers. There is a longer trail too.
  • Small location just off the highway, but reasonable size parking lot. Took the Art Walk just off the parking lot & enjoyed the whimsical art along the way. You can also take the more adventurous 2/3 mile loop trail that starts near the end of the Art Walk. A lot of up and down, but gorgeous views of a pristine wooded forest, a couple of creeks. Take your camera to capture the views!
  • Beautiful - the art walk trail is great, but gets REALLY steep. Towards the end of the trail is a walking meditation labyrinth that is a pleasant surprise and a good opportunity to cool down from the trail. The whole loop trail is less than a mile long, but very windy and steep.
  • Great place for a short nature trek. It is a short walk, under 1.5 minutes total. You will spend time admiring nature as well as I interpretive stops and the use of art to display nature is incredible.
  • This is a very fun place to get the kayaks into the water. There is a concrete boat launch right off the road and free parking right across the street. The bathrooms were closed on a Monday so don't count on the facilities and there is no drinking water but still a nice place.
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