Arcata Field Office

Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay

The South Spit is a place where visitors can spread out and find a quiet place to slow down for awhile, and enjoy one of Northern California's magnificent beaches. Although just a stone's throw from the city of Eureka, this 4.5 mile expanse of wave sculpted beaches, windswept dunes and marshy bayshore seems a world away. Beachcombers strolling the coastal sands can watch hang gliders soar on the updrafts above Table Bluff, while surfers ride the offshore swells. Many recreation opportunities are available to you on your visit to the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay. Take some time to learn about the ecology and history of the area before your trip.


View of Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay, looking north from Table BluffHanglider flying below Table Bluff, above the Pacific Ocean.Horses on the beach wave slope at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay.

Please remember these rules and regulations as you enjoy the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay:

The South Spit is open for day use only.
The area is open from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Vehicles are allowed off-road, on the waveslope only.
Vehicles must use designated vehicle access corridors to access the waveslope and stay under the 15 mph speed limit. Vehicles are not allowed in the dunes.

Limit use near western snowy plover protection areas.
Campfires, kites, vehicles, and model airplanes are not allowed within the signed plover protection areas.

The 20-acre western snowy plover habitat restoration area is closed to all public use each year from March 1 - September 15. The adjacent waveslope is closed to vehicle traffic as well during the breeding season, from March 1 - September 15. Western snowy plovers are sensitive to encounters with people, dogs and vehicles and an innocent recreationist can threaten the breeding success of snowy plovers. Energy is very important to this small bird. Every time humans, dogs, or other predators cause the birds to take flight or run away, they lose precious energy that is needed to maintain their nests. Just the presence of people and dogs in close proximity can cause adult birds to temporarily leave nests, which increases the chance of a predator finding the eggs, sand blowing over and covering the nest, or the eggs getting cold.

Dogs must be leashed during plover nesting season.
If you are on the west side of South Jetty Road between March 1 and September 15, keep your dog on a leash.

Firearms are only allowed for waterfowl hunting.
Target shooting and fireworks are not allowed.

Equestrian use is allowed on the ocean side of South Jetty Road.

Emergency Phones are located at the South Jetty Picnic Area (north end) and Table Bluff County Park (south end).

Know the tidal forecast of Humboldt Bay before you go.

South Spit CMA Interim Final Supplimental Rules


©2014 J Patrick Cudahy


Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay, facilities map

Map of the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay, located in Loleta, California. This map shows the facilities at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay. This map cannot be made fully compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If you need help using the information here, please contact the Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300, and reference the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay Facilities Map.

Directions to Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay

The Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay is a 20 minute scenic drive from either Eureka or Fortuna. Take U.S. 101 from either city to the Hookton Road exit. Follow Hookton Road west for 5 miles to the entrance.


Lynda J. Roush, Field Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road
Arcata, CA 95521-4573
Phone: (707) 825-2300
Fax: (707) 825-2301
Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email