This city is centrally located along the trail with easy access via SR-410 and SR-167 making it a great place to start your adventure. Named after the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, Puyallup means “the generous people”. It is also home to the Washington State Fair, the state’s main fair and is a fast growing community in the Puyallup River Valley of Pierce County. The Foothills Trail continues into the city as the Riverwalk Trail, with the current western terminus of the trail system ending in Puyallup.
Orting’s history began in 1854 when settlers established homes on four donation land claims in what would later become the City of Orting. Orting grew as an important railroad town located between the Wilkeson coal mines and Puget Sound during the late 1800’s, but faced declines after 1900 when coal mining dwindled and the railroad discontinued operation. Since the 1990’s Orting has been rapidly growing serving as a bedroom community for Seattle/Tacoma area. Most spots in the city offer spectacular views of Mount Rainier, and both the Carbon and Puyallup rivers flank the town creating some peaceful locations for a quick escape to nature.
Located about 5 miles west of Buckley, South Prairie is a quaint peaceful town that maintains a slower pace of life and a small town feel. The town originally sprung up as mining in the Wilkeson area took off. The town also housed a number of saw mills to process timber harvested in the vicinity of the town. Today, the town is a great stop on the Foothills Trail to take in peaceful views along South Prairie Creek, or grab a coffee or treat at one of the espresso stands located near the trail head!
Wilkeson is a small town with an Old West feel located near the Carbon Canyon. The town is considered one of the “gateways” to Mount Rainier National Park as it is a “last stop” on the way to the Carbon River entrance to the park. The town was originally founded as a mining town, but also served as a tourist stop as the popularity of Mount Rainier grew. A short spur of the Foothills Trail has been completed in the town, with future plans to connect it to the larger Foothills Trail through Gale Canyon to South Prairie.
Sitting where the foothills end, and the mountains begin, Enumclaw is the last population center between Seattle/Tacoma and the northern side of Mount Rainier National Park. Located in King County, Enumclaw sits across the White River from Buckley in Pierce County. A large project is currently under way to complete a bridge across the White River to connect the Foothills Trail in Buckley with the Foothills Trail in Enumclaw to further connect the two communities. Enumclaw, like many Foothills communities, has grown through the last two decades as people seek to live closer to the great recreation areas offered in the Cascades and Mount Rainier.
Originally named “White River Siding,” the City of Buckley is one of the oldest settlements in Washington State. The city serves as one of the last stops heading to the Sunrise side of Mount Rainier, and the current northern terminus of the Foothills Trail in Pierce County. Buckley is where the Foothills Trail was born, and features the first mile of trail that was ever constructed. The trail is very “park like” inside the city, featuring wide grassy areas, trees, and sweeping views of the Foothills and Mt. Rainier. A favorite stop for those using the trail in Buckley is at Wally’s Drive-in, to grab a burger, fries and a shake.
Carbonado began as a company town which means the property it sits on was owned by the company most worked for, in this case a mining company. They owned the houses and the energy resources as well. Carbonado as well as most towns in this area were created due to the large coal reserves found in this area, most of it provided to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Today Carbonado is the last real town before entering the Carbon River/Canyon corridor which takes you to the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. The Foothills Trail follows the original railroad line that snakes around Carbonado and continues into Carbon Canyon and the original townsite of Fairfax, which is on the other side of the river from the Foothills Trail. The Carbonado Saloon is the favorite place to stop and catch the character of the town and latest news.