Willapa Bay is the second largest estuary on the west coast of the United States, making for a coastline that is relatively undeveloped (with the exception of Raymond and South Bend further up the Willapa River).
With State Route 105 as my guide, and without any specific goals in mind, I set out to explore photographically Willapa Bay.
All along SR105, there are crossings of sloughs and rivers, some named on a sign, others I had to research through topographical map sources. Some bodies of water have no name (or at least one I could find).
My recommendations, if you’re going to venture from the roadside pullout, waterproof boots are highly recommended. Exposed estuaries can be very wet and muddy.
I made stops at various locations along the route, the determining factor being if there was a convenient pullout near an interesting scene.
Some of my photos were captured from a highway bridge or shoulder of the road, and others were from down in the mud of the estuary.
When I came across the Cedar River “Public Fishing” parking lot, I took a short hike along the estuary levy road back to where it started climbing into timber lands. I managed to capture a few landscape photographs of an unknown name tributary of the Cedar River.
I made another stop for additional photographs near the North River / Smith Creek Wildlife Area.
After driving through Raymond and South Bend, Washington (with a stop for a late lunch), I continued south along Willapa Bay on US101.
Initially, the lighting wasn’t good for landscape photographs (a little too harsh) but slowly got better as the afternoon became evening.
I took advantage of where the lighting was good for photos with stops near the Niawiakum River, the shoreline near Nemah Road, and Tide Slough where there was a herd of elk in the distance (too far away for the lenses I had on hand).
As the day’s light was fading, I made a few more stops along the southern reaches of Willapa Bay, not fully being able to explore the landscape photography possibilities before me. I’ll save that for another day.