Raymond-South Bend Willapa Hills Trail
HIKE DESCRIPTION: The small coastal city of Raymond is adorned with approximately 200 steel sculptures. Fish, eagles, loggers, cyclists, bears and more are depicted, and they all have a connection to Tacoma. Pacific County artists Joanne Salley Jambor and Renee O’Connor created drawings as part of an effort to revitalize the community in the early 1990s. The drawings were then submitted to Tacoma Steel Supply for production.
Many of the sculptures are located along a section of paved trail that runs through Raymond and continues along the Willapa River to South Bend. This area is known as the Raymond Wildlife-Heritage Sculpture Corridor. The sculptures, installed in 1993, accent a flat but scenic tour of the river where visitors are also likely to see plenty of real wildlife.
The trail is interrupted by roads in some places in Raymond, but signs mark the way. Cyclists can easily tack on extra miles using U.S. Highway 101. Tour the South Bend waterfront or keep going to Willapa Bay.
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DIRECTIONS: Arriving in Raymond via U.S. Highway 101, turn west on Heath Street and continue as it becomes Alder Street. Look for parking area near the Northwest Carriage Museum, 314 Alder St. Parking is also available in other areas near the trail in Raymond and a trailhead along Highway 101 near South Bend.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 11.
ELEVATION GAIN: Negligible.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year round.
MAP: A printable trail of the entire Willapa Hills Trail is available at lewiscountytrails.org.
ALSO: This paved section of trail is the western terminus of the 56-mile Willapa Hills Trail. It starts with more than 5 miles of paved trail in Chehalis. In between, the trail has a variety of surfaces ranging from gravel to grass. Some trestles on this converted Northern Pacific Railroad are not yet suitable for crossing. The shoulder of state Route 6 might be needed to link some sections. According to the Lewis County Community Trails’ website, two trestles between Chehalis and Raymond are scheduled to be completed this fall. Another trestle is scheduled to be re-decked next year. The Fat Tire Ride and Festival in Pe Ell scheduled for June 25-26, uses the trail. The Northwest Carriage Museum, near where most visitors park to access the trail in Raymond, is home to more than 20 restored horse-drawn carriages. The entry fee is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-18 and $15 for families. Dogs on leashes are permitted on the trail. Geocachers will find an abundance of caches to search for on the trail section between Raymond and South Bend. Visit geocaching.com for more information.