Foothills Trail

alertFoothills Trail - Now Open

The Pin Pile Bridge project has been completed! 

11/27/19 - Foothills trail pin pile bridge is fully repaired and open for use. Thanks to the community for their patience during these repairs and a special thanks to our partners at Pierce County Public Works for completing these repairs before the holiday weekend! 

11/13/19 - The parts are in and a fix for the bridge is underway.  The tree has been removed and the damaged span has been demolished. Over the next two weeks the Pierce County Crew will continue to rebuild, pave, and work toward reopening the trail

We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding throughout the duration of this project.

image of Pin pile bridge repair on the Foothills Trail image of pin pile bridge repair progress on the Foothils Trail
9/11/19 - The damage to the pin pile bridge on the Foothills Trail was substantial, spanning a 20’ section of the bridge. Bridge engineering staff inspected and determined the beams that provide fundamental support for the bridge would need to be replaced. Replacement supports are expected by mid-October. A temporary solution is under consideration by Parks and Engineering Staff. 

For safety purposes, the entire pin pile bridge has been closed with barricades to discourage people getting near the damaged section. We are moving as fast a possible to get that section safely opened and will keep the community posted as our plans are finalized.
image of Trail Closure sign on Pin Pile Bridge

8/15/19 -  The pin pile bridge between Buckley and South Prairie is closed in both directions due to a fallen tree. Our crew is working hard to clear the debris and restore access.
Foothills Trail Closure Aug 2019Foothills Trail Closure Aug 2019Foothills Trail Closure Aug 2019

About the Trail

The Foothills Trail sits atop a historic railroad bed and snakes through the river valley southeast of Tacoma. This 21-mile-long trail is a popular commuter route and recreational destination for bicyclists, while hikers enjoy shorter, more manageable segments of the trail. One of the most scenic sections for the unobstructed views of nearby Mt. Rainier begins in Orting and follows the Carbon River upstream through farmland and forest.

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.

The trail begins in the City of Puyallup at 13810 80th Street and continues through the Puyallup Valley to the City of Orting before beginning a small climb to the Town of South Prairie and City of Buckley. The trail terminates at the White River in Buckley.  The future plan is to continue the trail to Puyallup where it connects with the Riverwalk Trail then ultimately to Tacoma and Sumner where it will connect with the Interurban Trail that now extends through Kent and Auburn. The trail in Buckley will continue east into King County and Enumclaw. 

Construction of the trail began in 1998 and has continued as finances, environmental permits and county ownership have allowed.  Over 50% of the trail has been completed through grants and partnerships.  
Image of 2018 Outstanding Trail Award Poster

Foothills Trail Map    |     Foothills Trailheads     |     Foothills Trail Events

Rail-Trail History

A rail-trail is an abandoned rail bed 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 rail bed 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.