Wahoo! The Spooner, Dryad, and Adna bridges along the Willapa Hills Trail west of Chehalis, WA are all rebuilt and open. This means you can ride this delightful rails-to-trails route from Chehalis all the way to Pe Ell!
This 27-mile (one way) stretch of the Willapa Hills Trail has not been fully accessible for several years, ever since a severe winter storm destroyed some of the trail bridges over the Chehalis River. At the beginning of this year you could ride only a 6.5-mile stretch of the trail near Rainbow Falls State Park and a 4.5-mile stretch near Chehalis.
However, now that the bridges have been rebuilt, you can pick up the trail at the Chehalis Trailhead and follow it all the way to Pe Ell. Or you can access the trail at four trailheads with horse trailer parking: the Chehalis, Adna, Rainbow Falls, and Pe Ell Trailheads.
Because the trail roughly parallels Hwy. 6, it’s easy for you and a buddy to do a trailer shuttle, which allows you to ride the trail one way and explore more of it at once.
The Willapa Hills Trail is paved along its entire length, but there is a gravel path beside the trail specifically for horses. Because the trail follows a railroad right-of-way, the trail is wide, flat, and relatively straight.
The trail is shared with bikes and hikers, but it has long lines of sight so you can see the bikes coming a long way off, and they can see you.
Ride Statistics: It’s 4.5 miles one way from the Chehalis Trailhead to the Adna Trailhead. From Adna to Rainbow Falls State Park its 11 miles one way, and from Rainbow Falls to Pe Ell is 6.5 miles.
Getting to the Trailheads:
Chehalis Trailhead: From I-5, take Exit 77 in Chehalis and head west on Hwy. 6. At the first light, turn left on Riverside Drive. In 0.2 mile, veer left on Newaukum Drive, drive 0.2 mile, and turn left on SW Sylvenus. Follow it for 0.1 mile and turn right on Hillberger Road, then continue 0.5 mile to the trailhead. Horse trailer parking is on the left. At this trailhead you’ll find a toilet and parking for 8 trailers.
Adna Trailhead: From I-5, take Exit 77 in Chehalis and head west on Hwy. 6. Follow it for 5 miles. Turn right on Bunker Hill Road and drive 0.1 mile, then turn right on Dieckman Road. The trailer parking area is on the right. This trailhead offers easy turnaround and parking for many trailers.
Rainbow Falls Trailhead: From I-5, take Exit 77 in Chehalis and head west on Hwy. 6. Follow it for 17.3 miles. Turn right on Chandler Road, and in 0.3 mile turn right on Leudinghaus Rd. Follow it for 0.8 mile and turn right into the park. Veer left and follow the sign that says “Day Use.” Drive past the horse camp (no day-use parking there). According to park officials, you can ignore the sign on the road that says “No Horses Beyond This Point” and park in the gravel lot adjacent to the picnic area. Please make a special effort to pick up your manure so equestrians’ special parking privileges here don’t get revoked. Rainbow Falls State Park has a toilet, picnic facilities, and parking for several trailers.
Pe Ell Trailhead: Follow Hwy. 6 west for 23 miles. In Pe Ell, go left on 4th St. and the parking area is ahead in 1 block. This trailhead has a toilet, potable water spigots, hitching rails, ADA mounting ramp, a big turnaround area, and designated parking for 8 trailers.
Season: Year round