Willapa Hills Trail Ride (43).JPG

Trip Report    

Bikepack - Willapa Hills Trail

A long, hot but enjoyable large group trip to the coast on the Willapa Hills trail from Ceres (near Chehalis) to Bruceport County Park and back the next day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail has mixed terrain with paved sections (5 miles at the beginning near Chehalis, currently not usable due to constuction on a threstle) and one at the end between Raymond and South Bend.There is an improved compacted gravel section between aproximately mile 5-25 which only has a few spots of deep gravel that make riding a bit challenging. The "unimproved section" (mile 25-51 aprox)  is mostly rideable with one mandatory detour section (trail is gates/blocked), only 1/4 mile long which detrours you on Robertson Road near mile 37 near Lebam.Two other sections are marked as closed due to old railroad threstles which do not have any railings. They can be teavelled on using great care and walking bikes.Another section is very overgrown with blackberries and can and should be avoided to prevent flats. It is located a mile or so past the Menlo Store.

With the wonderful assistance of my two co-leaders, David Bryan and Brian Starlin, I led a BIG group of 11 (including me)  on a long bikepacking trip on the Willapa Hills Trail. We started the trail in Ceres instead of Chehalis due to construction in the early section of trail but we also extended it to Bruceport County Park in Willapa Bay where we had a wonderful campsite sitting on the bluff high above Willapa Bay. The route ended up covering 112 miles with 3200 feet of gain over 2 scorching hot days. Temps early afternoon were in the high 90's and heat took a lot out of all of us. We mitigated the heat effects with frequent stops to cool off in the shade, stopping at all towns that had stores and water sources to refill and get cold drinks, dunking our heads under hoses and water bottles. Three participants had to end the trip early due to signs of heat exhaustion and got rides back to their cars by a gracious family member and each other.
We also had many flats and learned many other great lessons about tire size vs. terrain, heat exhaustion avoidance and route planning which we flashed out though a good evening debrief at camp on Saturday night.
Another friend and Moutaineer, Barb Motteler and her son Alex joined us for the camping part, brought us cold drinks and homemade treats and sagged one of the flat-cursed participants to camp towards the very end of the ride on the first day.
But we still had an awesome trip, persevered, made  good choices and all returned safely home with another adventure in the books. Very impressed with this group and excited to have been buolding together this wonderful community of bikepackers within the Mountaineers.
More picures at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Lr93ogawVJK2VKh29