I’d read that the section of the trail just beyond South Prairie had opened and that the connection to the Buckley section would be open by year-end, so on a misty cold Sunday in the middle of December Odette and I took a ride.
The idea was to go as far as the pavement was in and then to turn around, and Odette was only up for 30 miles, so we started at the McMillan trailhead instead of our normal put-in at Pioneer. As it turned out the trail was paved all the way to Buckley so we rode 15 miles to the totem pole and then rode back. The grade is really gentle, the forest is beautiful, the view of the the bridge on the lower switchback (on the way back) deserves a photo. The bridge with the laminated wooden arches is really impressive.
I got on the the web when we got back and found that King and Pierce counties have put together almost enough money for a bridge over the White River to extend the trail to Enumclaw. Construction is supposed to start in 2018. Their map shows the trail continuing in basically a straight line from Enumclaw to the Cedar River – but I’m not holding my breath.
The design of the King County section involves using a 100 year-old arch bridge that originally carried the predecessor to SR 410 and which now is not accessible except by bush-whacking. The tricky part of the design takes the trail across Mud Mountain Road uphill from the highway (and not on the original railroad right of way.)