I love rail trails and some of my favorite running and hiking routes throughout Washington are on rail trails. Rail trails offer safe traffic free running routes. They’re gently graded. They can be found all over the state from major urban areas to the state’s remotest regions. Many rail trails begin, end and connect excellent parks and greenbelts offering even more running opportunities.
Last week I introduced you to five of my favorites in Western Washington. Let me now introduce to you 5 more of some of the finest rail trails in the region.
Length: 21 miles
Highlights: Woodward Bay and Mount Rainier views
Details found in Urban Trails Olympia
The Chehalis-Western Trail travels a 20-plus mile route from wildlife-rich Woodward Bay to rural towns in south Thurston County. Run through farmlands, the city of Lacey, and alongside lakeshores and the Deschutes River. Trail ties into the 14.5-mile Yelm to Tenino Trail.
Length: 25 miles
Highlights: Carbon River and Mount Rainier views
Races on this trail: Rainier to Ruston Relay and Ultra; White River 5K
Details found in Urban Trails Tacoma (due for release in 2019)
The Foothills Trail starts from just outside of Puyallup and travels all the way to Buckley. Civic leaders and an active trail coalition hope to have it eventually extended to Tacoma and Mount Rainier National Park. This wonderful trail traverses farmland, the city of Orting, and forest lots; and provides breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and the Carbon River.
Length: 6.6 miles
Highlights: forest ravines, San Juan Island views, Larrabee State Park
Races on this trail: Chuckanut Footrace; Fairhaven Frosty 10K, Last Chance Marathon and Half Marathon
Details found in Urban Trails Bellingham
An old light rail line, the Interurban Trail starts in Bellingham’s historic Fairhaven District and travels to Larrabee State Park in the Chuckanut Mountains. Most of the way is through cool forest—but there are some good glimpses of the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands along the way, too. The tail connects to many other trails in adjacent state and county parks offering many options for loops and long-distance adventures.
Grays Harbor County
Length: 2.3 miles
Highlights: quiet lakefront, trestle, historic logging camp
Details in Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula
Nice little rail trail within the Lake Sylvia State Park outside of Montesano. Run along an old logging railroad line on the shores of Lake Sylvia which used to be the center of a logging camp.
Tommy Thompson Trail
Length: 3.3 miles
Highlights; trestle across Fidalgo Bay, San Juan Islands views
Races on this trail: Anacortes Art Dash
Details in Urban Trails Bellingham
Great trail from marina near historic Anacortes old town to March Point via a causeway and trestle across Fidalgo Bay. Views are stunning along this short shoreline trail and include Mount Baker and the San Juan Islands. Wildlife sighting is excellent too—look for eagles, otters, seals, and plenty of other furry and feathered critters.