In a town like Long Beach Peninsula, the landscape was made to be discovered. More than 28-miles of beaches, six state parks, lush rain forests, and miles of trails equals a hiker’s paradise. We’ve made a list of some of the best hiking trails in Long Beach Peninsula so that you can start exploring.
To start off, we head to the longest trail in the mix…
North Head Discovery Trail
The North Head Discovery Trail is just over fourteen miles roundtrip. Connecting the town of Long Beach with Cape Disappointment State Park, the trail is considered moderate in terms of difficulty. For an average runner, it would take just over four hours to complete the loop on the gravel and paved route.
It made our list of one of the best hiking trails because of the beauty you’ll be treated to. You will see views of Cape Disappointment, Long Beach Peninsula, and the Pacific Ocean. You’ll run past the dunes and sea grass, hugging the coastline. The further into the state park you go, the thicker the trees will be. You’ll enjoy the damp canopy of tree coverage, as you weave along. There are even multiple offshoots that allow you access to the beach for a side journey. Special highlights include Clark’s Tree and the gray whale skeleton.
It is moderately traversed, and wonderful for biking, hiking, and birding. You can anticipate both stretches of solitude and passing other people on the trail. Feel free to bring your leashed dog!
Travel deeper into Cape Disappointment for our next options. And don’t forget your Discover Pass!
Lighthouse Hiking Trails on North Head Trail in Cape Disappointment State Park
Similarly named, this shorter trail is roughly 2-miles long, and will take you from North Head Lighthouse down to the beach access road. You’ll go through the thick trees, which wrap you on all sides. Their heavy presence will muffle the ocean just beyond your field of vision. You’ll hear the waves in the background as oceanic static that underpins the measured, wet squelch of your shoes on the trail.
The ground starts off paved but will move to muddy as you travel through. There are moments with stairs, and it will get very steep. And while it’ll start downhill, just don’t forget you have to come back up! But don’t let all of this intimidate you. It’s considered an easy trail for beginners! And it’s one of the best hiking trails along the coast due to the access to the lighthouse.
McKenzie Head Hiking Trails in Cape Disappointment State Park
Considered a moderate trail, McKenzie Head is only .5 miles long. You can experience this trail in less than 30 minutes, but you might stay longer when exploring it. Located in Cape Disappointment State Park, you’ll be treated to the built-in beautiful scenery. But in addition, this steep hike is brimming with interesting elements. It made our list of best hiking trails because of how much you’ll see. There are deteriorating military bunkers, covered with moss, and being reclaimed by the forest. McKenzie’s Lagoon, a small body of water that draws a variety of birds. You can walk inside the tunnel of the battery or see the Lewis & Clark monument. Both beautiful and historical, this small stretch is rich with storytelling and nature.
Head to the opposite end of the Peninsula to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge for the next trails.
Peaceful Hiking Trails on Leadbetter Point Looping Trail in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
If you’re in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, there are a multitude of directions you can go. This particular trial offers solitude with its unique landscapes. It’s on the list for best hiking trails because of the peace and calm it provides.
The trail will take you through the tidal flats of the bay, through shaggy dunes, brush forests, and a portion of the shoreline. Because of the location in the refuge, your furry friends are not allowed, so leave your dogs at home.
This is an ideal hike for birdwatchers. Migrating birds are drawn to the marshes. Because of sea level, some of the sections of the trails can be flooded during certain seasons.
Porter Point Loop Hike in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
Porter Point Loop is just over two miles of a moderate hiking trail. Like many of the other trails in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, you’re surrounded by swamps and tree lines. Migratory and raptor birds are abundant, as is the serene peacefulness. Catch up with your thoughts as you make the loop through the refuge.
South Bay Trail in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
When in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, take the South Bay Trail. Less than a mile long, it snakes through grasslands and wetlands, while giving you amazing views of Willapa Bay. You’ll see flocks of waterfowl. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll spy a bald eagle or two. Additional critters may vary but reports of otters, elk, and black bear have been made. This is an easy trail and usually peaceful. No dogs allowed on this one!
Long Beach Boardwalk and Discovery Trail Loop
Our final spot on the list of best hiking trails is an easy, breezy stroll. Less than a mile long, this trail is a chill path that is open all year. It is a paved and wooden boardwalk that takes you over the dunes along Long Beach. Your journey will pass the grey whale skeleton. You’ll have lovely views of the Pacific Ocean and wet beaches. Sea birds will be circling over the tides and the sound of the waves will be your soundtrack. Due to its ease and length, anticipate the trail to be populated with other people. The path is also ADA accessible, which will allow access for your wheelchairs, strollers, and mobility equipment. Dogs are welcome, so bring the whole family!
These are just a few of the best hiking trails in the peninsula. Keep checking back here for more insight on ways to explore this special coastline.
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.