About the Trail

 

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The Foothills Trail sits atop a historic railroad bed that snakes through river valleys, farmland and beautiful canyons while soaring over low and high bridges southeast of Tacoma.

The paved trail section is a popular commuter route and recreational destination for walkers, runners, bicyclists and equestrians. Many hikers, walkers and equestrians enjoy the unpaved sections that continue almost to Mount Rainier National Park. There are many sections of the trail that have unobstructed views of nearby Mt. Rainier, forestland and nature in all her beauty.

The paved sections of the Foothills Trail are 12-foot wide asphalt trails, linear parks suitable for bicycles, walking, runners, in-line skates and wheelchairs. It also has a soft shoulder path for equestrians. All the trails are non-motorized except some e-bikes are allowed.

The overall continuous length is almost 21 miles of completed paved sections from the Meeker (East Puyallup) Trailhead to the north edge of Buckley. Future plans are to link a trail section called the Ernie Bay Connector between the Foothills Trail, and the Riverwalk Trail in Puyallup, and the Sumner Link Trail. The Riverwalk Trail will ultimately connect to Tacoma and the Sumner Link Trail will connect with the Interurban Trail which extends north through Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and on to Seattle. The trail in Buckley will continue north over the White River (scheduled for 2021) to a brand-new trail section just completed which connects to the existing Foothills Trail in Enumclaw in King County with future connections to the north.

The unpaved sections of the Foothills Trail continue south near South Prairie along the abandoned railroad bed extending first to Wilkeson, then on to Carbonado and ending near the Mount Rainier National Park. One of these trail sections, between South Prairie and Wilkeson, goes through Gale Canyon, a beautiful canyon which is currently closed due to a washout.

The Foothills Trail has been constructed in sections as finances, environmental permits and the acquiring of ownership have allowed. We are continually working to extend, improve and maintain the paved and unpaved sections of this trail. Your paid membership and/or volunteer time helps us to continue with improving this extraordinary trail.