Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Willapa Hills Trail
Flat and fast across farmland, this rails-to-trails is a great way to spend a morning, and eventually, a long day. Now, only a few sections of the trail are paved. In the future, a 56-mile ride from Chehalis to South Bend, Washington will be possible.
We started out at the Chehalis trail head (GPS N46.64750, W122.97419), just west of I-5 at Hillburger Road on the Saturday before Easter. The trail immediately passes over a lengthy bridge then heads straight through farm country. It was the first pleasant morning after a long period of rainy days and the birds seemed as excited as we were about the change in the weather.
The trail intersects a few quiet country roads. The pavement is nearly flawless until it turns to gravel as we near the busiest crossing, which is Hwy 6. The reward for bouncing over the short span of gravel is a marshy area just beyond the crossing hopping with marsh wrens. Trail side mile markers advise us of our distance.
We pass another trail head at Adna, cross another highway and then find a “trail closed” sign at another bridge. This bridge lacks the decking for a bike ride over it. We turn back the way we came for a ride of just over 11 miles.
We walked another section of the trail from Rainbow Falls State Park. The trail is not paved there, but the packed gravel would not be a problem. What is a problem, unless you are Evel Kneivel, is the missing bridge over the Chehalis River about two and half miles to the west of the park.
More information here.