The Thurston County Parks and Recreation Department acquired 15.5-miles of the Chehalis Western Railroad corridor from Weyerhaeuser Timber Company in 1989 and 1996. The County recently took over the northern 5 miles from Lacey to Woodward Bay and is currently building three bridges over I5, Martin Way, and Pacific to connect the segments together. To navigate this stretch, use the existing at-grade crossing of Pacific Avenue, approximately 100 yards east of where the trail touches the road. After you cross Pacific, continue east another one block until Sleater-Kinney Road. Turn right, or south, and go 100 yards to 12th Avenue. Take a right on 12th and follow until the end (approximately 300 yards). You'll find an "on-ramp" at the end of the road that leads you back to the main trail.
The line operated from 1926 through the mid-1980's and was used to haul timber from the Bald Hills to Puget Sound mills. The trail runs north-south through the heart of Thurston County and features access to the Puget Sound, Chambers Lake, the Deschutes River, wetlands, forests, prairies and other habitats and scenic views of Mt. Rainier. It also features a scenic overlook at Chambers Lake and an award-winning pedestrian overpass at Yelm Highway. Trailheads are located approximately every two miles on the Thurston County Parks-owned section. The 21.5-mile trail links with the 14-mile Yelm-Tenino Trail.
Directions to the Chamber Lake Trailhead:
From I-5 northbound, take Exit #108 to Sleater Kinney Road. Head south, cross Pacific Avenue, at the 4-way stop sign, turn right onto 14th Avenue. Follow approximately 1/2 mile. The entrance is after the trestle on the left.
Directions to the 67th Avenue Trailhead:
Take Exit #109 southbound (College Street) or #108 northbound (College Street) and travel south. Cross Pacific Avenue and Yelm Highway. College Street becomes Rainier Road. Follow approximately 1 mile. Turn right onto 67th Avenue and follow to the end. No restroom facility.