Ride the Willapa Route Map

All the details of your Ride the Willapa experience.

Ride the Willapa is more than just a bike ride event. Utilizing just over 26 miles of the Willapa Hills Trail, this ride is all about the journey.  No matter your age, or how hard-core of a cyclist you are, Ride the Willapa is a great time for all. Partnering with many other community-driven events, the Ride the Willapa experience encompasses a series of farm tours, a night of camping under the stars at Rainbow Falls State Park and many other exciting options to round out an entire weekend of fun.

  • Things you can expect to see along the ride:
    • Bathrooms (porta-potties)
    • Aid Stations
    • Animals (in the form of birds and cows, as well as the occasional deer or fish!)
    • Support staff
  • Things you will not see:
    • Cell coverage – unless you are with Verizon or US Cellular, this ride is pretty much off-grid
    • ATMs
    • Firearms. The Willapa Hills Trail and Rainbow Falls State Park is a Washington State Parks and Recreation controlled area. We abide by all of their laws.
    • Alcohol or drugs of any kind (see above reasons)
    • Other vehicles (except for the one spot where the trail crosses WA Route 6 – which will be staffed with flaggers to ensure rider safety)

Support staff on the trail

Willapa Riders

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of bike do I need for Ride the Willapa?
    • The types of bikes that are going to have the most fun on this trail have a fatter tire than your average road bike – such as mountain bikes, cruisers, or other types meant for varied terrain. That being said, we did have several people with tires as narrow as a 700x32c who completed the course with no issues.  However, we’d look at that as a bare minimum requirement.
  • What is the trail surface like?
    • The first 5-6 miles of the trail are smooth, paved asphalt. After that, the trail consists of fine-crushed, compacted gravel.
  • I plan on camping out at Rainbow Falls State Park but I can’t carry all my gear on my bike…
    • Through a valued partnership with UPS, your camping items will be tagged with your rider number and delivered safely to the camp ground for you to claim your spot.
  • I am not much for camping… Any other lodging available in the area?
    • Unfortunately, it is rather slim pickings when it comes to lodging in the Pe Ell/Rainbow Falls area. You are welcome to search for an AirBnB, but if you’ve got your heart set of a nice comfy-cozy bed instead of an air mattress after the ride, we suggest booking a room in the Chehalis/Centralia area and pushing to finish the ride in one day.
  • Can I do just half of the ride? 52 miles on a bike might kill me…
    • We encourage all riders to give the Willapa Hills Trail a go – It’s just about entirely level grade the whole way, and it is in no way a race. There are many things for you to stop and check out, taking a breather from the pedal work. If worse comes to worst, we do have the ability to take you back to your own vehicle, and of course will have medical staff at the ready should anything occur.

More About the Willapa Hills Trail

The Willapa Hills Trail, located in the Chehalis River Valley of southwest Washington state, is 56.5 miles of pure countryside glory.  Providing a beautiful break from city life, the trail begins minutes outside Chehalis, WA and will take its travelers all the way to the Pacific coast at South Bend, WA.  Traversing over century old trestle bridges, through river valleys, thick forests, and past many beautiful farms, the Willapa Hills Trail is truly a regional treasure.  The trail is a part of the history of this area in a big way.  To learn more about the Willapa Hills Trail, and its significance to the birth of the towns in this area, check out this article on TrailLink’s website.

A Ride with a Cause

The Willapa Hills Trail is truly a work in progress and is in need of our help. With its history as a railroad line firmly in the past, its new owner, Washington State Parks, has a different purpose for the old rail line. Ride the Willapa was created as a celebration of a large chunk of that work, making a bike ride from Chehalis to Pe Ell and now beyond possible.  It is also a way to help raise money to continue restoration and improvements to the route, making trestle bridges safe, restoring areas that may have sustained flood damage, and eventually paving the length of the trail from Chehalis, WA all the way to South Bend, WA.  Once completed, the Willapa Hills Trail will boast over 56 miles of safe, alternative transportation, stretching from Interstate 5 to the Pacific coast.  The possibilities for enjoyment in the form of day trips, vacations, and many other adventures, will be endless. A spirited funding effort, from grants, the state Legislature, and other sources, has worked to transform the rail line to where it is now.  Help us keep the momentum of this effort going!  All of the proceeds from your registration will go toward this great work, as well as anything you may be able to donate.