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The Interurban Trail (South) connects several towns south of Seattle along the historic route of the Puget Sound Electric Railway. The trolley ran between Tacoma and Seattle from 1902 to 1928, falling victim to the growing popularity of cars and trucks and the construction of State Route 99. Its cousin—now the Interurban Trail (North)—ran between Seattle and Everett and survived until 1939.
The 18.1-mile trail runs nearly straight and flat for 14.8 miles from its beginning in the north near Fort Dent Park. The route connects the towns of Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Algona, and Pacific, making it popular with commuting bicyclists. Two unattached segments in Edgewood and Milton follow the old railway corridor toward Tacoma.
Starting at the parking lot at Fort Dent Park, follow the River Trail signs across a small bridge, and take the Green River Trail to the Interurban Trail intersection. After crossing under Interstate 405, the paved trail rolls alongside the BNSF Railway and beneath Puget Sound Energy power lines on steel utility poles that march south for miles. The route passes sprawling commercial and light industrial areas in Tukwila and Kent with access to employers and shopping malls, though the trail avoids the hustle and bustle of the congested roads.
Drainage ditches account for natural habitat next to the trail and provide nesting for ducks and marsh birds. On clear days, 14,410-foot Mount Rainier is visible to the south. After passing the outskirts of downtown Kent, the Interurban Trail meets the Green River Trail again. Following this path to the right provides a winding, 11-mile scenic route back to Fort Dent atop a river levee.
The surroundings become more agricultural after a rail yard (watch for unmanned locomotives), and you might hear a crowd roaring as you pass the Emerald Downs thoroughbred racetrack. The trail passes historic downtown Auburn and then takes its one turn, a slight curve heading to the southwest toward Tacoma. The trail passes backyards in Algona before it ends in Pacific.
The Interurban Trail segments along the ridge look nothing like the older stretch in the flatland. One 0.8-mile section begins at the Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park in Edgewood, where you'll find a historical railway display. After another gap, the 2.5-mile Milton section descends toward Tacoma through the forested canyon of Hylebos Creek. Long-range plans call for linking the segments, though trail builders will have to find a route up the hogback from the town of Pacific, the former home of the railway's Bluffs Station.
To reach the Tukwila trailhead, from Interstate 5, take Exit 156, and head southeast on Interurban Avenue S. Go 1.7 miles, and turn left onto Fort Dent Way. Then, turn left onto Starfire Way. From I-405, take Exit 1, and go straight across Interurban Avenue (heading north) to Fort Dent Way. Turn left onto Starfire Way.
To reach the Pacific trailhead, from I-5, take Exit 142A. Head east on SR 18 for 2.5 miles, and take the W. Valley Highway exit toward SR 167 S. Turn right onto W. Valley Highway, and go 2.6 miles. Turn left onto Third Avenue SW. The trailhead is on the left after passing under SR 167.
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