Nisqually Delta & Reach

Sea kayak or packraft the Nisqually Delta in South Puget Sound between Tacoma and Olympia, and fall in love with the pristine waters of the Nisqually Reach. Enjoy the Bily Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, an important and rich biological preserve in South Puget Sound that is home to many aquatic species.

Launch points

On the Water

There is a channel to Puget Sound from Luhr's Landing. This channel is roughly marked by wood posts but it shifts location. Outside the channel are extensive mud flats. On a falling tide, these become exposed faster than a paddler can move to deep water.  Some of the mud flats are sand but there are areas of soft mud so walking off the flats may be impossible. It is safest to cross the flats on a rising tide.

Most of the delta is within the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the refuge may paddled, but exiting boats is not allowed. There is a sanctuary area in which boating is not allowed—its boundary is reported to be well marked. The best map of the refuge, including sanctuary boundary is the park brochure (see the land manager below).

With proper tides, exploration can include McAllister Creek on the west and Salmon Creek on the east with a connection back to the Nisqually River.


  • Note tide heights, because the delta dries at lower tide levels stranding many an unwary boater.
  • Duck hunting occurs in fall.
  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak III, Class 0 Still Water
  • MapTech Puget Sound Chart No. 100
  • see Land Manager

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports

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  • Nisqually Delta
  • Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
  • Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

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