The short boardwalk at Bowerman Basin provides a quiet, contemplative place to enjoy the wildlife resting at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge.
Situated on the western edge of Hoquiam, the Sandpiper Trail is accessed by first walking near the Hoquiam airport. As a courtesy to airfield employees and users, please stay on the paved path and don’t stray into the nearby buildings.
Walk a brief half mile section on the paved road near old buildings, now abandoned, or at least infrequently used, to the true trailhead for the Sandpiper Trail. Head northwest along this boardwalk, which can be slippery because of catkins that fall on the boardwalk from alders lining either side. Tread carefully. Listen to the riotous calling of a myriad of birds, and if you’re visiting at lowtide, look for shorebirds like plovers, dunlin, and the trail’s namesake, sandpipers.
Nearly half a mile later, arrive at a fork. Here you can go either way, since it is a short lollipop loop that allows you to see more of the refuge close up, and offers a look into Bowerman Basin itself from a bench situated at the westernmost edge of the trail. Back on the loop, admire the warped driftwood in the basin, or take advantage of the binoculars mounted on the boardwalk to get a closer look at the wildlife here as you complete your loop. When you’re done exploring, head back the way you came.