"Chehalis Western Trail" Top 5 Page for this destination Olympia Things to Do Tip by glabah

Olympia Things to Do: 43 reviews and 100 photos

  Chehalis Western Trail is Paved Bike Path
by glabah
  • Chehalis Western Trail is Paved Bike Path - Olympia
      Chehalis Western Trail is Paved Bike Path
    by glabah
  • Map of Thurston County Trails at Trailhead - Olympia
      Map of Thurston County Trails at Trailhead
    by glabah
  • Trail near Chambers Lakes Trailhead - Olympia
      Trail near Chambers Lakes Trailhead
    by glabah

In the early 1980s Weyerhaeuser decided it was time to cease operation of its railroad between its properties in the Cascades foothills and Puget Sound. Parts of this railroad remained in operation into the 1990s, and one shop facility stayed open until around 2005.

However, today, there are some 35 miles of ex-logging railroad that have been converted into a bicycle trail. Much of the route is fairly suburban, but other areas are reasonably rural. The right of way is paved for much of the distance.

Far from being only an Olympia thing to do, the trail goes through Lacy, passes near Tenino, the community of Rainier, and reasonably far into the forest. At milepost 21, the trail intersects the Yelm to Tenino Trail. The section past this junction is not very well developed.

The trail also intersects the Woodland Trail, which runs east to west somewhat south of Interstate 5, between a suburban area of Olympia and a suburban area of Lacy.

The north end of the Chehalis Western trail is located on Puget Sound on Woodard Bay. The trail head and parking lot are just south of the intersection of Woodard Bay Road and Lemmon Road. See my Woodard Bay Trailhead tip, located in Boston Harbor (the closest community to that location). It has a reasonably nice paved parking area in heavy shade and a portable toilet, but to go south from there on the trail you must cross several busy roads at grade.

Another trailhead exists near Chambers Lakes, towards the south side of Olympia. See my Chambers Lakes Trailhead tip. This trailhead features flush toilets. Here, there are also road crossings but there are also a few bridges over the worst of the roads.

One short section of the trail does not exist and requires the use of local roads to complete the trail as the railroad route has been completely obliterated due to road expansion and real estate development. This is the section from Pacific Avenue (which is busy and not easy to cross - and an obstacle has been placed in the middle of the road in order to prevent people from crossing here) to the Woodland Trail - a distance of about 300 feet / 100 meters.

Various other trailheads exist, scattered along the length of the trail. Currently, only the four or five major trailheads have restroom facilities and developed parking facilities.

The trail passes right next to the Monarch Sculpture Park, which has led to the suggestion that the entire trail be populated with various works of art along its entire length.

Milepost markers are located approximately every 1/2 mile so that the map of the trail may be connected with your actual location along it.

In my opinion, the section from Pacific Avenue north to Woodard Bay is probably the less interesting part of the trail, as it is mostly suburban development. The more rural areas that are further away from the suburban sprawl provides more unique areas to pass through.

Website: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/parks/trails-chehalis-western.htm

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  • Updated Oct 20, 2013
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