While many of us lament the arrival of cooler weather, Mother Nature does give summer a spectacular send-off with the changing of the leaves. We are fortunate to live in one of the greenest places in the United States, which means we get to see some pretty amazing fall colors here in Lewis County – rivaled only by Vermont’s maples.
So grab your camera and take a drive around the county this fall – you won’t regret it. And, while you are out and about, be sure to stop at one of the many local farms or coffee huts serving up apple cider and pumpkin spice everything, because you just can’t enjoy the leaves without a warm drink in your hand!
Ike Kinswa State Park
Ike Kinswa State Park by Mayfield Lake is full of trees of all varieties, creating a beautiful array of colors this time of year. Highway 12 has spots of color on the sides of the road, making it a pleasant trip to and from 1-5.
Ike Kinswa State Park is located at 873 WA-122, Silver Creek.
Napavine Community Park
Cris Dodd, the community development administrative assistant for the City of Napavine, recommends the walking trails at the Napavine Community Park as the best place for fall leaves. “There are beautiful trees and ponds with wildlife along the many paths,” she says.
Take Washington Road to the park and take in the beautiful, maple-lined streets that are full of color this time of year. On the way back toward I-5, take Rush Road and see even more color.
Napavine Community park’s entrance is off Washington and Haywire Roads.
Rainbow Falls State Park
Rainbow Falls State Park is a dense forest that will provide plenty of beautiful colors as the weather cools. And, of course, the falls are beautiful any time of year. Both horse and bike riders can take in the leaves here. Check to make sure the equestrian trails are still open before heading out.
Rainbow Falls State Park is located at 4008 WA-6, Chehalis.
Lewis and Clark State Park
The gorgeous Lewis and Clark State Park is known for its old-growth evergreen trees, but there are also a fair amount of deciduous trees that explode in color during fall. Look for stunning colors near the kitchens and cabins and also on the equestrian trail. In the old-growth forest, giant maple trees are near the trailhead, well hidden, except for the leaves that fall – some bigger than your hand.
Lewis and Clark State Park is located at 4583 Jackson Highway, Toledo.
Willapa Hills State Park Trail
The Willapa Trail, aka “Rails to Trails,” is a gorgeous path to take in the changing leaves. No matter which part of the 22-mile trek from Chehalis to Pe Ell you take, you are sure to see some beautiful fall colors. “I highly recommend a fall bike ride along this trail,” says Toni Weyman Drescher, communications consultant and social media coordinator for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. “While a lot of the trees are conifers, there are deciduous trees, such as maple and alder, along the way. It’s a lovely ride along an abandoned rail bed, so it’s mostly level.”
Trailheads are located in Chehalis, Adna, Cere Hill, Rainbow Falls State Park, Meskill and Pe Ell.
If you are looking for a drive-through beautiful leaves instead of a walk, definitely take Jackson highway. This gorgeous drive will take you by farmhouses with trees and right through the beautiful forest that includes the Lewis and Clark State Park, clear to Toledo. It’s the perfect Sunday drive.
Jackson Highway runs east of 1-5 from Chehalis to Toledo (both marked on map)
Chehalis Timberland Library & Neighborhood
The grounds of the Chehalis Timberland Library are stunning in the fall, and so are the tree-lined streets of the downtown area directly adjacent to it. It’s definitely a great place to walk with your dog on a cool fall day and enjoy the leaves.
Chehalis Timberland Library is located at 400 N Market Blvd, Chehalis
Fort Borst Park
Fort Borst Park in Centralia has towering deciduous trees that change to all kinds of colors in the fall. And don’t forget to check out the arboretum for more fall colors! They are particularly beautiful set against the old Borst Blockhouse and School House.
Fort Borst Park is located at Exit 82 off I-5, head west and turn left on Belmont Avenue.