The Willapa Hills Trail runs 56 miles between Chehalis and South Bend in Washington state. Formerly a Northern Pacific Railway, this corridor was rail banked and is in the process of being converted into a rail-trail. Though both ends are paved, there are several trestles that are unimproved or have been washed away in the 2007 floods and a large portion of the trail is still ballast and may be covered with brush. Both trestles are scheduled to be replaced by FEMA in the next 2 years.
The Chehalis section is paved for 5.2 miles from the new trailhead on SW Hillberger Road out to a new trailhead (parking, with restrooms coming soon) behind the high school in Adna and across Bunker Creek Road. This section offers a charming pastoral ride through dairy country, with two nice bridges that survived the 2007 floods.
A half mile past Bunker Creek Road is Trestle #5, which is unplanked and not considered usable at this time, though there is a plan to deck it with local donated materials and labor in the near future.
On the other side of Trestle #5, a 1.3 mile segment is accessible from Clinton Road and the surface has recently been compacted and graveled but the Ceres Trestle at mile 6.5 is washed out.
A 9.5 mile segment of gravel and compacted trail extends from the washed out Ceres Trestle at mile 6.5 to the Dryad Trestle at mile 16 and is excellent for cycling or walking. It passes near Rainbow Falls State Park at the center of the segment. This segment can be accessed from Ceres Hill Road or Chandler Road near Dryad.
From the Dryad Trestle to Raymond the trail is largely unimproved with the surface primarily ballast and overgrown with brush in areas. An additional segment from Dryad to Pe Ell is scheduled for compacting and gravel in the summer of 2011.
The 5-mile section from Raymond to South Bend is paved and follows the Willapa River.
The Willapa Hills Trail has modest grades and gorgeous views of the river and valley. There are plans to restore the historic swinging bridge along this trail. You will find picnic facilities and restrooms at Riverfront Park in Raymond.
Parking and Trail Access
Needs better signage
First and last six miles are paved and ridable on road bike. The rest of the trail is only ridable on a mountain bike.
My big gripe with this trail is that you cannot ride all the way through and the closed sections are not evident until you get to ...
TRAILBEAR IN THE TULLIES – A Weekend upon the Willapa
The Willapa Hills Trail is becoming worth the drive. It offers over fifty miles of rail-trail from South Bend on Willapa Bay to Chehalis on the I-5 freeway, with the Willapa Hills in the middle. Take a weekend and explore.
The TrailBear ...
WILLAPA HILLS TRAIL - Planning and construction updates
It may be years before we can pedal from Chehalis to South Bend, but the ends are paved and here is some update and background information from the Lewis County Trails org...