Packwood Trail Project

Where is Packwood?

* Don't forget to take our INTEREST SURVEY.  WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Packwood is located 90 miles west of Yakima and 75 miles east of Centralia on Highway 12 just south of Mt. Rainier. Packwood is one of the more remote small cities in Western Washington.  Until the mid-2000's, Packwood was driven by a forest products economy with a lumber mill and a Forest Service work center.  These two employers, plus a strong seasonally recreational community, provided the economic base for the town.  Since the mill closed and the Forest Service closed the work center, the town of Packwood has struggled to find a new identity and promote and rely on its deeply rich recreational opportunities.


Residents and lovers of Packwood have identified the need for a trail, or a system of trails that (are):
  • Multi-use (hiker, biker, runner, hunter friendly), non-motorized
  • Accessible year round (below the winter snowline)
  • Easy to hike/ride (more/less flat)
  • Pavement Accessible (can drive on a paved road to trail head)
  • Provide an economic benefit to the Packwood community
  • Bring together federal, state, and local agencies with interested organizations and Packwood community
  • Interpret rich cultural history of Packwood (pre-Columbian to present)
  • Use and/or link in to historic and currently maintained trails

The needs for such a trail or network of trails can be categorized in several ways:
  • Filling a void in recreational opportunities
  • Economic growth
  • Building a stronger community
  • Health and fitness / quality of life
  • Relationships between government agencies, the community, and public organizations

There are more than 30 trails that are within 10 air miles of Packwood.  However, these trails are neither accessible during the winter nor for much of the shoulder seasons.  From November until April, there is a noticeable absence of outdoor experiences, trail running, hiking, and bike riding.  This is neither by design nor by necessity.  Although downtown Packwood (elevation 1060 feet) does often get snow during the winter months, it rarely stays around for more than a week.  The winter snowline usually starts at about 2000 feet. 

Furthermore, trails that do exist near Packwood are too steep to ride up or for many, even to walk up.  Most of the trails leave from the valley floor and climb several thousand feet within one or two miles.

In the table below a 'red x' means that the local trail does NOT meet our goals.  A 'green check' means that it does.  You can see that there are no trails in our local area that meet our community's year around needs for recreational trails.

NamePeriod of AccessDifficultyParkingUse TypeOther Factors
Packwood LakeMay - OctEasyPavedMulti-Use
Backbone RidgeMay - OctModeratePavedMulti-UseNPS Access
Tatoosh PeakJune - OctHardLogging RoadWilderness
Three PeaksJune - OctHardLogging RoadHiking
Coal Creek RidgeJune - OctHardLogging RoadWilderness
Lilly BasinJune - OctModerateLogging RoadWilderness
Dry Creek LookoutMay - OctHardPavedMulti-Use
Klickitat TrailJuly - OctModerateLogging RoadMulti-Use
Pompei Peak TrailJune - OctHardNot!Multi-Use
No Access
Purcell / Little ParadiseJune - OctHardPavedMulti-Use
No trail maint.
* Table of local existing trails and their qualities as they relate to our identified objectives.

We suggest building a trail or system of trails in the elevation range between 1100 and 1600 feet with access points on Highway 12, Snyder Road, and Cannon Road.  We want to see the trails with relatively little elevation gain and loss.  A network of trails with year-round access would serve as a boon to the residents, visitors, and economy of Packwood.


The first meeting was held was on November 5th, 2016.  A few community members met at a local residence and decided to begin a process of establishing support and demonstrating interest from our community, partners, and local governmental bodies.  We agreed to:
  • Create this web interface as a central point of collaboration
    • Possibly use Facebook, Pinterest, and other media
  • Engage local business groups, county managers, Forest Service leaders, etc...
    • Initial group participants will attend local meetings
  • Get a sense of whether or not there is support and interest
  • Meet again in January, 2017 to see what the interest was and plan next step
  • If interest and support exists, plan for a greater public meeting some time in March.


We realize that these types of efforts take years before the first section of trail construction can commence.  Other analogs from similar efforts show that trail construction begins, if at all, more than five years from initial conception.  However, we realize that if never begun, it's always five years away.  We endeavor to slowly and patiently chisel away at this, building relationships and partners and energy along the way.

To get involved and stay informed please click the links bellow.