Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Beach Wheelchair
  • Picnic


  • Visitor center
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Beach Wheelchair


569 S G St., Arcata, CA, 95521
North Coast
Info: (707) 826-2359
Trails: 4 am until one hour after sunset
Visitors center: Mon. 1-5 and Tues. - Sun., 9 am-5 pm
Not allowed, service animals OK
Last Reviewed:
July 2023
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This 307-acre marsh at the edge of Humboldt Bay is situated along the Pacific Flyway and a haven for more than 250 species of birds. It's also a part of the City of Arcata wastewater treatment system. It includes saltwater bay, lake, pond, fresh and saltwater marshes, and mudflats. In addition to the accessible half-mile-long Butcher’s Slough trail, four miles of almost level, well-maintained trails run atop levees around the marsh. The best times to visit are dawn and near sunset, when the most birds are present.

The Interpretive Center, fronted by a native plant garden, has interactive interpretive exhibits, free maps and literature, a bookstore, bird lists and a log of recent bird sightings.

Trails and Pathways

Butcher's Slough Trail
Trailhead Location:
Visitor center/parking area
Trail Length:
Under one mile total
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Typical Terrain:
Trail Overview:

This levee trail skirts Log Pond just north of the visitor center. Numbered signposts keyed to a pamphlet discuss the sanctuary's history, restoration, natural features, and wildlife. Though an active industrial area is nearby, shrubbery and medium-size trees make this spot feel remote. Across the water, ducks dabble in the shallows and willows are crowded with perching black-crowned night herons. Download a self-guided walk here

Accessibility Notes: This trail is OK in wet weather but other trails in the preserve may get muddy.
Humboldt Bay Trail North
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Typical Terrain:
Trailhead Location: The Bay Trail enters the Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary on the south side of Samoa and L Streets. The trail runs through the center of the marsh and then south along Highway 101 to Bracut.
Trail Overview:

Arcata’s section of the Humboldt Bay trail is a 4.5-mile-long Class I, ADA-accessible paved multi-use trail. An approximately 1.5 mile portion of the trail runs through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.


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%

Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Inside visitor center

Beach Wheelchair:
Yes – Available for loan at the Interpretive Center.

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

Accessible Visitor Center:

Additional Information:

A maze of almost-level, well-maintained trails, totaling four more miles, traverse the marsh levees. These are worth trying, but where they cross old railroad tracks there are 3-to-4-inch steps over the ties or rails. They were not a deterrent in my motorized wheelchair.The shrubbery and trees around Log Pond are pleasant and provide wildlife habitat, though they may block your view across the water. Other trails in the sanctuary have unobstructed views.

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