Long Island Trails

Long Island Trails by Susan Stauffer continued:

As enticing it is to think of hiking on this Island it also can be very dangerous. The island is only accessible by watercraft and the tides/tide currents with rapidly changing weather conditions (winds tend to become stronger and gustier in the afternoon hours) create potentially hazardous conditions for those that are unprepared and not familiar with boating/kayaking/ or canoeing. Even those that are experienced have been among those having to call for help, as what have may have been serene waters on the journey over can turn dangerous quickly and unexpectedly for the hoped return to shore. Tide tables are a must that have to be consulted and to be aware of, as access to the Island (just like the old Train schedules on the Pennisula) is controlled and run by the Tides. There is no potable water on the Island so you must bring your water with you.

Where you decide to land on the Island, whether you are planning a day trip or a camping trip, will all factor into where you can go on the Trails located there. The Trails are all in a dense forest environment. Hiking from the boat launch pull out (on the Island across from the Refuge) you will hike up an old logging road into the forest with a few steep hills. You will be able to hike down to the Pinnacle Rock Campground from this old logging road and at Pinnacle Rock Campground you can view the Bay and shoreline. Hiking back up to the old logging road continuing your journey, you will go by the Don Bonker Cedar Grove Trail marker and you can hike through the Cedar Grove. Plan to be hiking for a few hours if you take this route. Past the Don Bonker Cedar Grove Trail marker you will find the Smokey Hollow Campground, hiking down a trail to the campground itself right near the shore of the Island with another view of the bay and shoreline. The trail continues from Smoky Hollow campground back to the old logging road to the other two Campsites: Sand Spit Campground and Sawlog Campground.

It is not possible to hike all of these trails in one day and still get the right tides for your return. A day trip should be carefully planned to be sure you have time to do your hike and time to hike back out to your watercraft location to get back to the mainland. This will be dependent somewhat on where you decide to land on the Island to start your hike. Keep track of your time as you hike along in conjunction with the tides and your type of watercraft.

If one is planning a trip to Long Island the Refuge has maps and information on its website at: www.fws.gov/refuge/willapa ( or simply google Willapa National Wildlife Refuge), as well as handouts that can be picked up at the Refuge Headquarters Office. Note the office is only open during the weekdays. Look over the map provided on the web site and carefully plan your trip. It is best to get a chart map of Long Island. Enjoy but do not be careless or overestimate your abilities. Being safe is best for everyone, especially you, those you bring with you and for those that are not needed to be called in to rescue you.

Long Island Trail Map