Washington State Parks recently extended the Willapa Hills State Park Trail by 4 miles, with the help of a number of state and federal agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations.
The addition creates 26 miles of continuous trail between Chehalis and Pacific County. The alignment is built on a historic rail line that runs parallel to State Route 6 from Chehalis to US Highway 101 in South Bend. Future improvements will narrow the 25-mile gap between the eastern and western sections of trail, and numerous bridges have been improved on the undeveloped portion. Plans are in place to complete the contiguous 56-mile trail by 2025.
The $600,000 project to add the 4 miles has been funded by a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, administered by the Recreation Conservation Office.
Previous funding sources for Willapa Hills Trail projects include: a Federal Highways Grant (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users—SAFETEA-LU); The Boeing Company; LCCT and State Parks capital budget, allocated by the Washington State Legislature.
Willapa Hills is one of five long-distance multi-use recreation trails managed by Washington State Parks. Long-distance trails are available for non-motorized recreation, including hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.The linear “rail-trail” park is a key element of State Parks’ long-term plan for a cross-state trail network.
Washington State Parks acquired the right-of-way to this spur track of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1993. The developed trail includes approximately 5 miles of paved trail at each end, 20 miles of compacted gravel, 30 restored or rebuilt bridges and a side trail to Rainbow Falls State Park at mile 16.