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Chehalis River Discovery Trail

Southwest Washington > Lewis River Region
46.7681, -123.0245 Map & Directions
3.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
210 feet
Highest Point
265 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Chehalis River Discovery Trail. Photo by eadraper. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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

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Hiking Chehalis River Discovery Trail

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.

Hike Description Written by
Aaron Thiesen, WTA Correspondent

Chehalis River Discovery Trail

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.7681, -123.0245 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee


WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

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).

More Hike Details


Southwest Washington > Lewis River Region

Lewis County Parks

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USGS Rochester

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Chehalis River Discovery Trail

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