Did you know that Willapa Hills was originally known as “Rails to Trails” that makes it sound like an extreme sports track! However, Willapa Hills Trail is anything but extreme. Spanning over 50 miles the Willapa Hills trail starts in Chehalis and makes its way west all the way to South Bend! Although hiking a 56-mile long trail might be considered extreme, you’ll probably breeze through since it’s mostly flat!
Willapa Hills Trail State Park Map
A Trail for Trains
Originally constructed in 1892 by Northern Pacific Railway, the Willapa Hills trail was built over the decommissioned railroad. The railroad was used for freight until 1990 when it was designated as abandoned by the owner, Burlington Northern Railroad. In 1993 the Washington State Parks and Recreation agency acquired the entire line. Which happens to be 757 acres! Did you know that one acre is equal to 43,560 ft? Now multiply that by 757!
More Than a Trail
Although the Willapa Hills trail is impressive, there’s a lot more to Willapa than that! Willapa is an entire region bound by the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic mountain range, and the Columbia River, tying together some of the most picturesque landscapes of our beloved state! Willapa Hills are also regularly logged for its Alder trees. The Alder trees are then sent to pulp mills where paper, cardboard, and more are manufactured! Did you know that logging is a 16.8 billion dollar industry? That’s a lot of potential pennies for local pockets!
What Makes the Willapa Hills Trail So Interesting
While hiking and logging might not be your thing, hopefully sustaining the local economy and supporting our state parks and trails IS your thing! A 757-acre range and a 56-mile long trail is a whole lot to maintain, so the non-profit Lewis County community trail association hosts an annual two-day “Ride the Willapa” bike event in early summer to raise funding for maintenance. Set aside Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th and you can Ride the Willapa, or just show up in support!