Foothills Trail

Experience the popular Foothills Trail, hiking on the route of an abandoned rail line between East Puyallup and historic Carbonado in Pierce County. The trail is open to bikers, in-line skaters, and equestrians.

on the trail

The 21-mile Foothills Trail was built on a former  historic railroad bed and snakes through the Puyallup River valley southeast of Tacoma in Pierce County. It is a popular 12-foot wide paved commuter route and recreational destination for hikers, bikers and in-line skaters. It also has a soft shoulder path for equestrians. One of the most scenic sections for the unobstructed views of nearby Mountt Rainier begins in Orting and follows the Carbon River upstream through farmland and forest.

Foothills Trail: East Puyallup to McMillin

4 miles one-way

This is the most popular section of the Foothills Trail. It is four miles, winds through trees and farms, and runs alongside an active railway. It is a great alternative to riding on SR 162.

Foothills Trail: McMillin to Orting

2.3 miles on-way

The McMillin Trailhead is a popular starting spot for bikers, skaters and families with strollers. Most of this 2.3 mile section parallels SR 162 and is the original "Model Mile" of the trail. Many consider it the most scenic part of the trail.

Foothills Trail: Orting to South Prairie

11 miles one-way

This diverse, nearly 11-mile section of the trail is the longest. There are three rest stops, a cattle farm and a buffalo ranch, two salmon bearing streams (Voights Creek and Roush Creek), eight bridges, four of them are former railroad trestles that were converted for trail use, and the real feature, the Carbon River, South Prairie Creek and the railroad trestles crossing them.

Foothills Trail: South Prairie to Buckley

This section of the trail is under construction and should be completed by the end of 2017. Keep an eye on the Land Manager's website for updates.

Foothills Trail: Buckley to Cascade Junction

2.4 miles one-way

A 2.4-mile paved section of the trail that starts at the White River at the north end of Buckley and passes the stadium used for the annual logging contests and a historical display of logging industry artifacts. The pavement ends at a "use at own risk" sign south of town.

Foothills Trail: Wilkeson to Carbonado

3 miles one-way with 400 feet of elevation gain

This is a unique opportunity to experience two historic towns, Wilkeson and Carbonado, on one hike.  Both flourished during earlier mining days and have vestiges remaining of those glory days that we can observe.  The trail is unpaved and secluded, and the 400 feet elevation gain over three miles  makes this an easy hike or mountain bike.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 1,191 ft
Map
  • see Land Manager
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Foothills Trail: East Puyallup to McMillin
  • Foothills Trail: McMillin to Orting
  • Foothills Trail: Orting to South Prairie
  • Foothills Trail: South Prairie to Buckley
  • Foothills Trail: Buckley to Cascade Junction
  • Foothills Trail: Wilkeson to Carbonado
Resources

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