Two-day ride takes place June 24 to 25, in Lewis County
OLYMPIA – June 1, 2017 – Washington State Parks and partners invite bicyclists on a two-day ride through the hills, forests, farmlands and small towns of the Willapa Hills Trail in Lewis County.
The second annual Ride the Willapa begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 24, at the Veterans Museum, 100 Southwest Veterans Way, Chehalis. (Directions) On the first day, the route takes riders west from the Willapa Hills trailhead to Pe Ell, then backtracks to Rainbow Falls State Park for a campout. The ride ends around 3 p.m. the following afternoon, Sunday, June 25, back in Chehalis.
“Washington State Parks is pleased to be a part of the Ride the Willapa event,” said Ranger Tom Pew, manager for State Parks Millersylvania Area, which includes Willapa Hills State Park Trail. “This is a great partnership with organizations and communities in Lewis County. It’s also a wonderful way to experience some of Lewis County’s scenic rural lands. The trail is an old railroad bed, so it’s fairly flat and a perfect ride for the whole family.”
On the first day of the 45-mile round-trip event, riders will follow the trail 23 miles west to Pe Ell to experience the town’s Village Festival. The route then takes riders back east 8 miles to Rainbow Falls State Park.
Coinciding with the Ride the Willapa is the annual Tour de Farms, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 24. Bike riders will be able to stop at four heritage farms located along the trail in the pastoral Chehalis River Valley.
This year, State Parks and organizers have added a Campout at Rainbow Falls State Park in the day use area for a nominal fee of $4. A barbecue dinner on Saturday evening and a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning will be available for an additional charge. Saturday night’s fun will include acoustic music and storytelling by the campfire, games and more.
The first 6 miles of the Willapa Hills Trail, heading west from Chehalis, is smooth paved asphalt; the remainder of the trail is fine-crushed compact gravel. Organizers recommend participants ride bikes with fatter tires than the average road bike—such as mountain bikes or cruisers.
Registration is required to participate in the Ride the Willapa. Organizers recommend registering in advance, as space will be limited. Cost is $30 for adults; $10 for kids age 5 to 18 and free for kids under 5. The cost for the campout is $4 per person if reserved in advance. Campout cost will be $5 for those registering on the day of the event. Those wishing to stay Saturday night in Pe Ell may camp for free at the Pe Ell School’s football field.
For more information about the Ride the Willapa and to register for the ride and the Campout, visit: http://ridethewillapa.com/experience-willapa-hills-trail-rainbow-falls//, or contact the event organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 880-8197.
Participants wanting a more private camping experience may take their chances at one of the park’s larger tent or RV campsites—available on a first-come, first-served basis—ranging in price from $25 to $40. For more information about camping at the park, call (360) 291-3767.
For a full list of partners and sponsors for the Ride the Willapa, visit http://ridethewillapa.com/.
About the Willapa Hills State Park Trail and Rainbow Falls State Park
The Willapa Hills Trail runs 22 miles east-west between Chehalis and Pe Ell, along an old railroad bed used as a spur track for logging operations in the late 1800s. State Parks expects to complete work on the trail up to a mile east of the Lewis-Pacific county line by the end of this year. The agency will seek funding to complete the remainder of the trail in Pacific County.
Rainbow Falls State Park is a small wooded park just a short distance from the Willapa Hills Trail and situated on the Chehalis River and waterfall. The park offers 10 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of biking trails, freshwater fishing, swimming holes, a softball field, horseshoe pits and a self-guided walk through an old growth forest.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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