The Foothills Trail is a 12-foot wide non-motorized asphalt trail/linear park suitable for bicycles, walking, in-line skates and wheel chairs. It also has a soft shoulder path for equestrians.
Completed paved sections include 15 miles from Meeker to the South Prairie Creek in South Prairie and a 1.8 mile section in Buckley. Our future plan is to continue the trail to Sumner where we will connect with the Interurban Trail that now extends through Kent and Auburn. The trail in Buckley will continue east to Enumclaw and King County.
The Foothills Trail has been constructed in sections as finances, environmental permits and county ownership have allowed. When complete, the trail will be more than 28 miles in length.
A Rail-Trail is an abandoned railbed used as a non-motorized public trail with transportation and recreation in mind. There are over 10,000 miles of rail trail in the U.S. Some abandoned rail lines have been rail-banked which keeps the corridor in one ownership. However, to assemble the Foothills Trail, each segment of trail was painstakingly purchased or, in some cases. donated to Pierce County. Federal and state grant funds are used to construct the trial segments into existing and ongoing Foothills Trail.
Burlington Northern Railway abandoned the railbed in 1982. The effort started in 1984 when a Buckley physician and a community visionary organized the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition to assist Pierce County Parks in building the trail. Despite roadblocks, construction of the trail is ongoing and thousands of users are already enjoying its benefits.
Development of the Foothills Trail would not have been possible without the partnership of the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coaltion who have provided countless volunteer hours, fundraising efforts, and advocacy for nonmotorized transportation in Pierce County.
For further information on the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition please call (253)841-2570 or visit the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition website.
The trail opening was held at the City of Buckley's southern border on highway 165 where a happy crowd of local dignitaries and trail supporters gathered in liquid sunshine to hear Pierce County Parks Director Kathy Kravit-Smith pay homage to Doctor Tate and give thanks to the Foothills Trail Coalition for their dedication and public service. Other speakers included the Mayor of Buckley, Pat Johnson.
Through the countless hours of volunteer labor from the Foothills Trail Coalition and the resourcefulness of Pierce Conty and City employees, the Foothills Trail is now almost fully paved. Over the past few years, both the improved and unimproved sections of the trail have been in use and have supported major events such as the R2R Rainier to Ruston Run.
Pierce County Parks & Recreation, Washington State