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Chehalis River Discovery Trail

Southwest Washington

Location

Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region
View map below

Length

3.6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 210 ft.
Highest Point: 265 ft.

Rating

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

Explore the Chehalis River between working farmland and recently restored riparian habitat. Your hosts: a bevy of birds, from barn swallows to bald eagles.

From the parking area, walk the gated access road past working farms and an old barn—notice the nesting swallows—to a T-junction at 0.3 mile. Pick up an interpretive guidebook and follow the signposts, first right, then back.

Trees and shrubs along the river bank were planted in a partnership between the City of Centralia and the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust to protect salmon habitat. As they grow, cottonwood, red-osier dogwood, and willow will restore eroded river banks and create spawning grounds for threatened char. In the meantime, they provide superb bird-watching, including bald eagles, a pair of which resides here year-round. Note, too, the mature black cottonwood forest across the river. The largest such grove remaining along the Chehalis, this ribbon of riparian woodland is protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement.

At 1.2 miles, reach the end of the north branch of the route. Note the expansive agricultural fields; they soak up water from the treatment plant and act as a filter before it reaches the river. Follow the path back past the T-junction to the south branch at two miles. Continue on the south branch to its terminus at 2.6 miles, where a thick grove of Douglas-fir and western red cedar towers over a 90-degree bend in the river. Relax on the shaded shoreline before returning the way you came.

WTA Pro Tip: Built in 1908, the Olympic Club Pub caters to tourists and timbermen amid warm wood and turn-of-the-century details. If you have time to stay, check into one of the Olympic Club Hotel’s 27 intimate European-style rooms.

 

Chehalis River Discovery Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7681, -123.0245 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region

Lewis County Parks

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

USGS Rochester

Getting There

From I-5 south, take exit 82 for Centralia. Turn right onto Harrison Avenue. Continue 2.4 miles to Goodrich Road. Turn left and continue 1.1 miles, past the wastewater treatment plant to the road’s end and parking area (elev. 270 feet).

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Chehalis River Discovery Trail

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