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Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition

Pierce County Parks Update

Thursday, October 19, 2023 11:30 AM | John Paine (Administrator)

By Brianne Blackburn, Planner & Trails Coordinator, Pierce County Parks

East Puyallup Trailhead Improvements

The East Puyallup Trailhead is a very popular location for people to begin their Foothills Trail adventures. This trailhead features a restroom facility, kiosk, and 23 well-used parking spaces. The parking is so well- used that there are often a large number of vehicles parking along the roadway shoulder and other areas creating safety and maintenance issues.

Pierce County Parks is excited to announce that construction will begin in September 2023 to expand parking capacity and upgrade amenities at the East Puyallup Trailhead. Over the next 4-5 months, crews will be working to bring the following upgrades to this trailhead:

  • Increased parking capacity from 26 stalls to 81 stalls;
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations;
  • New lighting
  • Updated signage
  • Planting and drainage improvements
  • ADA Improvements

Construction Related Impacts

During Construction, the trail will remain open, but the parking lot and restrooms will be closed. This work is scheduled to begin in early September and will take approximately 4-5 months to complete. Visit the project website ( for more information and to sign up for email updates.


Other Foothills Trail Project:

There are a number of other projects underway to imrpove the Foothills Trail. Here is a quick rundown of projects you may have noticed this summer or are in the works:

  • Ski Park Bridge: The Ski Park Bridge, located along the Foothills Trail between Orting and South Prairie, is a timber bridge originally built in 1904 as a trestle along the former railroad route. Due to its age and location within a wetland, it is in need of replacement. The Pierce County bridge engineers recommend the complete replacement of the existing bridge with a new two-span, prestressed concrete birder bridge which will have an estimated 100-year useful life.
  • ** The project is at 30% design with construction scheduled for summer of 2025. We anticipate the trail to be closed for approximately 6 months for the replacement. Summer 2023 saw brief closures of the trail at the Ski Park bridge for geotechnical drilling related to the bridge design.
  • ADA Improvements: The Parks Department completed an ADA Transition Plan in 2017 which identified needed corrections (deficits) and created a plan and schedule for making them. Since then, Parks has worked steadily to address accessibility deficits during the course of regular park maintenance and with new construction. The Foothills Trail saw (or will see!) the following ADA improvements:
  • ** McMillin Trailhead: Signage installation and restroom ADA accessibility improvements.
  • ** South Prairie Trailhead: ADA accessibility improvements.
  • ** Trail crossing at Military Road and 136th Street: ADA accessibility improvements.
  • Expect temporary closures during project.

    WSDOT Fish Passage Improvements: As a part of their statewide efforts to improve fish passage, WSDOT is planning to reconstruct culverts on Rauch Creek under SR-162 which is likely to include reconstruction of a culvert under the Foothills Trail between Orting and Crocker Parking Area. Coordination between WSDOT and Pierce County will continue as the project progresses to design in the coming months. 
  • Temporary, daytime closures of the trail are expected for up to a couple of days this fall as the team performs geotechnical drilling. Exact dates to be determined. Construction is planned for 2025.

    For more information on Parks projects, please visit

The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 192; Puyallup WA 98371-0021

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