Humboldt Bay NWR

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Picnic


  • Visitor center
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Boating


1020 Ranch Road, Loleta, CA, 95551
North Coast
Info: (707) 733-5406
Daily: 8 am-5 pm, Visitor Center open Sat. & Sun.
Not allowed, service animals OK
Last Reviewed:
July 2023
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Located on the south edge of Humboldt Bay, near Eureka, the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge refuge complex offers great wildfe viewing on it's two interpretive trails: The Shorebird Loop (reviewed below) and Hookton Slough Trails. The 1.5 mile Hookton Slough Trail was not reviewed although it is level and has the same firm surface as the Shorebird Loop Trail. There is a dock for launching small, non-motorized boats at the Hookton Slough Trail parking area. Start your visit at the Visitor Center at 1020 Ranch Road.

Trails and Pathways

Shorebird Loop Trail
Trailhead Location:
Starts at visitor center
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Elevation Change
3 ft.
Typical Grade:
Typical Terrain:
Trail Overview:

The Shorebird Loop Trail (1.7 miles roundtrip) is a level, firm gravel trail that begins at the Visitor Center and travels for .5 miles before reaching the loop. This stretch features, an observation gazebo, wetland deck, benches and interpretive panels. The trail passes along seasonal freshwater wetlands, eventually leading to a permanent brackish pond and the eastern edge of Hookton Slough.

At .54 mile you reach Long Pond and the loop portion. Following it to the left, at 1-mile there is a spur trail off to the left that quickly ends at a viewing bench. Continuing on the loop, there is a slight slight uphill and a short section (around 50 ft.) with a cross slope greater than 2%.

Look for swallows and sparrows, listen for the marsh wren or secretive Virginia rail and keep an eye skyward for raptors.

Accessibility Notes: At the start of the loop after crossing a wood bridge the trail is more overgrown with grasses.


The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%; Located at Salmon Creek Unit (headquarters & visitor center) and at Hookton Slough Unit lot there is an undeveloped dirt and gravel lot and an accessible parking sign but no striping

Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Visitor center has a multi-user men's and womens bathroom with a sink. There is a vault toilet at Hookton Slough parking lot.

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance

Accessible Visitor Center:

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