Hike of the Week for Friday, October 29, 2010
Hop onboard this recently opened section of rail trail
Article and photo by Craig Romano
Enjoy nice river views from this
section of the Centennial Trail.
Land Agency: Snohomish County Parks
Roundtrip: 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Contact: Snohomish County Parks; www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/departments/parks
Special Note: Paved trail is open to bicycles and is wheelchair accessible; dogs must be leashed.
Access: Southern Access is from Haller Park in Arlington near the junction of SR 9 and SR 530, four miles east of Exit 208. Northern Access is in Bryant at the corner of SR 9 and the Stanwood-Bryant Road, four miles east of Exit 212.
Snohomish County Parks and Recreation’s plans for extending the ever popular paved Centennial Trail northward are moving along full steam ahead! This autumn, just over three more miles of this wonderful family-friendly trail opened; and folks from near and far have wasted little time putting their running shoes and bike tires to use on it!
From old town Arlington, the new section of trail passes through Haller Park (parking and restrooms available) before crossing the Stillaguamish River on an attractive trestle. From the bridge you stand just downriver from the confluence of the churning river’s South and North Forks. Admire large cottonwoods at Twin Rivers Park across the way and emerald ridges in the distance to the north.
Once across the river reach a junction with the Whitehorse Trail. This unpaved trail branches right following the river all the way to Darrington and makes for a great adventure via foot, hoof or fat tire.
The paved Centennial Trail then crosses a high bridge and skirts a quarry as it slowly climbs above the fertile Stillaguamish floodplain. Pass by a few old dairy farms as you make your way northward. At about one mile, a couple of picnic tables nestled in a grove of mature timber entice you to take a break. Otherwise continue onward through mostly woodlands.
The way eventually reaches Bryant Lake, a ringed with fern and spirea wetland popular with local anglers. Getting close to the small lake requires some good waterproof boots. Enjoy it from a distance and watch for resident birds. Look out beyond it too and take in good views of Three Fingers and Mount Pilchuck.
At just over 3.0 miles reach the small community of Bryant. Consider a stop at the nearby country store for a drink and a snack before returning back to Arlington. If all goes according to plan—by next spring you’ll be able to travel even farther north on this trail—all the way to the Nakashima Farm on the Skagit County line.
For information on lodging and other attractions near the Centennial Trail, visit www.snohomish.org