A walk through the coastal forest and tidal flats of Leadbetter Point State Park, the Dune Forest Loop is a nice way to see this low-lying peninsula, but the conditions on trail are heavily dependent on the tides and recent rainfall. Come prepared to wade through at least a little bit of water, and don’t be surprised to find yourself navigating deeper stuff. Bring a tide table, and try to visit at low tide for the driest conditions.
Park at the lower trailhead, and begin by heading to the right, out to the shoreline. Walk north along the sandy beach bordering Willapa Bay. Often littered with driftwood and fallen trees, this section can be difficult to navigate when the tide is high.
Enjoy the Willapa Hills, low mountains of southwest Washington to your right, but keep an eye out for the turnoff back into the forest to your left. It’s at a viewing platform about a half mile from the lower trailhead. Duck back into the forest and soon find yourself at the upper trailhead and parking area, complete with restrooms, should you need them.
If not, press on and through a half mile of trail, with junctions first for the Bay View Trail to your right (about 0.15 miles) and then for the Weather Beach Trail half a mile from where you turned away from the shore. Stay to the left at both of these, as you hike through a narrow trail lined with salal and invasive Scotch Broom (look out for the spikes).
Continuing south, you’ll proceed along a sometimes-wide, sometimes quite narrow trail, and even pass some ancient relics. Turn back north nearly a mile from the turnoff from the shore, and continue through deepening forest before popping back out of it at the lower parking lot.