It seems islands and peninsulas far from the reach of modern civilization are where nature tends to rule. This couldn't be more true than at the very northern tip of the 28-mile Long Beach Peninsula. In fact, you'll find few locations on the U.S. west coast as remote as Leadbetter Point (with the exception of Alaska, of course). Leadbetter Point itself is protected as a part of the Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge and completely off limits to visitors (excluding the black bear that crossed into this area during our visit).
This 3.8 mile interpretive loop traverses a diversity of landscapes including the low-land tidal flats of Willapa Bay, dense lodgepole pine and salal brush forest, grassy dunes, and a half mile of Pacific shoreline. Although the trail doesn't specifically venture into the wildlife refuge, dogs are prohibited on much of the trail, and once you are in the dunes and beach you should hike only the designated routes to protect the breeding grounds for the endangered snowy plover*.
* Listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, snowy plovers are small wading marine birds that resemble sandpipers. The plovers breed and nest in the coastal dunes of both South and North America as far north as Washington. With encroaching human activities and development, stunted reproduction has diminished the species population count, but recent awareness has led to numerous preservation efforts throughout the U.S. West Coast.