Willapa Hills Rails-to-Trails Hike

Hike Distance: 7.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1837.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 170 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 236404 feet

It’s been very wet and rainy in the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted to stay out in the open during the remainder of this storm.  My wife and I agreed that the Willapa Hills Rails-to-Trails hike, near Chehalis, WA was a great option.

We knew that Seattle had gotten over three inches of rain but didn’t know how this area was affected.  We drove out to the Chehalis TH at SW Hillburger Road but never got there.  The Chehalis River was at flood stage, and the road to the TH was closed due to flooding!  In fact, all the lowlands in this area were heavily flooded, and we needed to rethink where to go.

We headed west and parked just off Hwy 6, and then walked west on the Willapa Hills Trail.  The rain eventually stopped and it was quite nice out.  We crossed over two large bridges spanning the Chehalis River, and the sediment filled, fast moving river was quite impressive!  One of the bridges actually contains an approx. 900 foot span, and the water was the width of this!!!  The sad part was that a small group of cows were stuck on a thin patch midway between this span, near a grove of trees, and they were in shallow water.  There was nowhere for them to go and I fear they’re lives are at risk if the water rises. 😦   Really tough to see but I can’t imagine how they could be rescued without endangering many people. 😦

The hike was a simple out and back, and between mileage markers 3 and 7 of the trail.  Just to refresh your knowledge of the Willapa Hills Trail, it has a length of about 56 miles and spans between Chehalis, Wa and South Bend, WA.  The surface type we walked on was predominantly asphalt.  There is little elevation gain, since it is part of a Rails-to-Trails network.

We had only three hours to hike, since we also needed two hours to drive out and back from our home.  The 7.5 miles is much longer than we expected!  A very nice day!

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