Chinook Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Chinook Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 29 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Chinook Trail holds a significant place in the history of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. This historic trail, also known as the Naches Pass Trail, was a vital route used by Native American tribes for centuries before European settlers arrived. The trail stretches across the Cascade Range, connecting the eastern and western parts of Washington State.

The Chinook Trail was primarily used by the Chinook people, who were skilled traders and navigators. They would travel along this route to trade goods such as salmon, furs, and other resources with neighboring tribes. The trail also served as a crucial link between the coastal tribes and those living in the interior regions. It allowed for the exchange of cultural practices, ideas, and technologies.

With the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century, the Chinook Trail gained further importance as a transportation route. In 1853, Lieutenant Thomas W. Symons led an expedition to survey and improve the trail for wagon travel. This effort was part of the larger plan to establish a wagon road connecting the Puget Sound region with the gold mines in eastern Washington. The trail became known as the Naches Pass Trail after the nearby Naches River.

However, the rugged terrain and harsh weather conditions made the Naches Pass Trail a challenging route for wagons. As a result, it was eventually replaced by other more accessible routes, such as the Snoqualmie Pass. Today, the Chinook Trail remains an important historical landmark, reminding us of the rich cultural heritage and the significant role it played in the development of the Pacific Northwest.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Mount Rainier National Park – This access point is located near the Chinook Pass on State Route 410. It provides access to various sections of the Chinook Trail within the national park.

2. Crystal Mountain – This popular ski resort also serves as a trailhead for the Chinook Trail. It offers access to scenic alpine areas and stunning views of Mount Rainier.

3. Greenwater – Located along State Route 410, Greenwater is a small community that serves as a trailhead for the Chinook Trail. It provides access to the forested areas and beautiful landscapes of the region.

4. Enumclaw – This town in King County serves as a gateway to the Chinook Trail. It offers various access points and trailheads for hikers to explore different sections of the trail.

5. Naches Pass – Located in the Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Pass is an important historical route and also serves as a trailhead for the Chinook Trail. It provides access to scenic mountain vistas and lush forests.

6. White Pass – Situated on State Route 12, White Pass is a popular access point for the Chinook Trail. It offers access to the stunning landscapes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

7. Packwood – This small town in Lewis County serves as a trailhead for the Chinook Trail. It provides access to the surrounding forests and offers opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation.

8. Randle – Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Randle is another access point for the Chinook Trail. It offers access to the diverse ecosystems and scenic beauty of the area.

9. Mount St. Helens – The area surrounding Mount St. Helens also provides access to the Chinook Trail. Hikers can explore the volcanic landscapes and witness the aftermath of the 1980 eruption.

10. Columbia River Gorge – The eastern end of the Chinook Trail is located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. This access point offers stunning views of the gorge and opportunities for hiking along the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Chinook Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to the Chinook Trail.
2. Metro Bus – Public bus service operating in the vicinity of the Chinook Trail.
3. Yellow Cab – Taxi service available for transportation needs around the Chinook Trail.
4. Lime Scooters – Electric scooter rental service for convenient short-distance travel.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service providing transportation options in the Chinook Trail area.
6. Lyft – Another ride-hailing service offering convenient transportation solutions near the Chinook Trail.
7. Zipcar – Car-sharing service allowing easy access to vehicles for short-term use.
8. Cascade Bicycle Club – Bicycle rental service for exploring the Chinook Trail and surrounding areas.
9. Amtrak – Train service connecting various locations near the Chinook Trail.
10. Greyhound – Intercity bus service with stops near the Chinook Trail.


The amenities available at the Chinook Trail may vary depending on the specific section or location along the trail. However, here are some common amenities that can be found along the Chinook Trail:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the trail may have designated restroom facilities, either at trailheads or along the route. These restrooms can be in the form of portable toilets or permanent structures.

2. Parking: Many trailheads along the Chinook Trail offer parking areas for visitors to leave their vehicles while they explore the trail. These parking lots may have designated spaces for cars, motorcycles, or even RVs.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the Chinook Trail may have designated camping areas where visitors can set up tents or park their RVs. These camping sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: Along the trail, there may be designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes even grills. These areas provide a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy a meal or take a break.

5. Water Sources: Depending on the specific section of the trail, there may be access to water sources such as rivers, streams, or lakes. Visitors can use these water sources for drinking, cooking, or other recreational activities.

6. Trail Markers and Signage: The Chinook Trail is typically well-marked with trail markers and signage to help hikers navigate the route. These markers ensure that visitors stay on the designated trail and do not get lost.

7. Information Boards: At some trailheads or key points along the Chinook Trail, there may be information boards providing details about the trail, its history, rules, and safety guidelines.

8. Scenic Overlooks: The Chinook Trail often passes through areas with beautiful scenic views. These viewpoints may have designated areas or platforms where visitors can stop and enjoy the scenery.

It is important to note that amenities can vary along different sections of the trail, and it is advisable to check with local authorities or trail organizations for specific information about amenities available at a particular location on the Chinook Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Chinook Lodge – A cozy lodging option located near the trailhead, offering comfortable rooms and scenic views.
2. Trailside Diner – A popular food service spot along the Chinook Trail, serving delicious meals and refreshing beverages.
3. Mountain View Inn – A nearby lodging facility with stunning mountain vistas, providing comfortable accommodations for hikers.
4. Riverside Campground – A camping site situated by a river, offering basic amenities and a peaceful environment for outdoor enthusiasts.
5. Trailhead Cafe – A small eatery conveniently located at the trailhead, serving quick bites and beverages for hikers on the go.
6. Forest Retreat Cabins – Rustic cabins nestled in the woods, providing a serene and secluded lodging experience for nature lovers.
7. Wilderness Grill – A restaurant specializing in grilled dishes, perfect for satisfying hunger after a long day on the Chinook Trail.
8. Emergency Medical Center – A medical facility equipped to handle emergencies, providing essential healthcare services for trail users.
9. Trailside Motel – A budget-friendly lodging option situated along the trail, offering comfortable rooms and easy access to hiking.
10. Ranger Station – A local authority outpost providing information, assistance, and emergency services for hikers on the Chinook Trail.

Chinook Trail Difficulty Notes

The Chinook Trail presents a moderate to challenging difficulty level for hikers. Spanning approximately 300 miles through the diverse landscapes of Washington and Oregon, this trail offers a mix of rugged terrains, steep ascents, and technical sections that require careful navigation. Hikers will encounter dense forests, rocky ridges, and river crossings, adding to the overall challenge. Additionally, unpredictable weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and snowfall, can further increase the difficulty level. However, the trail’s breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and the sense of accomplishment upon completion make it a rewarding and memorable experience for those seeking a challenging adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Chinook Trail is a long-distance hiking trail that spans across the states of Washington and Oregon in the United States. Along this trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Chinook Trail:

1. Mount Adams: This prominent volcanic peak in Washington offers stunning views and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers.

2. Columbia River Gorge: The trail passes through the Columbia River Gorge, known for its breathtaking views, waterfalls (such as Multnomah Falls), and unique geological formations.

3. Mount Hood: Located in Oregon, Mount Hood is another iconic volcanic peak that offers panoramic views and recreational opportunities.

4. Mount St. Helens: This active volcano in Washington is famous for its 1980 eruption. The trail provides opportunities to explore the surrounding area and witness the volcano’s aftermath.

5. Beacon Rock State Park: Situated along the Columbia River, this park features the iconic Beacon Rock, a volcanic plug that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

6. Indian Heaven Wilderness: Located in Washington, this wilderness area is known for its beautiful alpine meadows, lakes, and abundant wildflowers.

7. Cape Horn: This scenic area along the Columbia River Gorge offers stunning views of the river, waterfalls, and the surrounding cliffs.

8. Bridge of the Gods: This historic bridge spans the Columbia River, connecting Washington and Oregon. It offers scenic views and is a significant landmark along the trail.

9. Panther Creek Falls: A picturesque waterfall located in Washington, offering a refreshing stop along the trail.

10. Trapper Creek Wilderness: This wilderness area in Washington features rugged terrain, old-growth forests, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Chinook Trail. The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes and experiences for outdoor enthusiasts.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
4. No camping or fires along the trail.
5. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
6. Bicycles are allowed only on designated bike trails.
7. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
8. Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
9. Do not litter and carry out all trash.
10. Respect other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians.
11. Do not damage or remove any plants, rocks, or other natural features.
12. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Chinook Trail, located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, offers breathtaking views and a variety of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and the weather is generally mild and pleasant. Fall brings stunning foliage colors, creating a picturesque landscape for hikers and photographers alike. During these seasons, the temperatures are comfortable, and the trail is less crowded compared to the peak summer months.

It is important to note that the Chinook Trail has seasonal closures due to weather conditions and maintenance. The trail is typically closed during the winter months, from December to February, as heavy snowfall and icy conditions make it unsafe for hikers. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be closed temporarily for maintenance or repairs. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail organizations for up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions before planning your visit.

Despite the seasonal closures, the Chinook Trail offers a wide range of activities throughout the year. In the summer, visitors can enjoy hiking, backpacking, and camping along the trail. The warm weather allows for longer days on the trail, and the lush greenery provides a refreshing backdrop. Wildlife sightings are also more common during this time, adding to the overall experience. In the winter, when the trail is closed, visitors can still enjoy nearby winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding in the surrounding mountain areas.

Overall, the best times to visit the Chinook Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the trail is less crowded. However, it is essential to stay informed about seasonal closures and plan accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on this stunning trail.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trailhead, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is equipped with ramps, handrails, and other features to ensure wheelchair accessibility.
3. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, allowing individuals using wheelchairs or mobility devices to navigate easily.
4. Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available near the trailhead, designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
5. Signage: Clear and visible signage along the trail provides information and directions in accessible formats, including Braille and large print.
6. Benches and Rest Areas: Wheelchair-accessible benches and rest areas are strategically placed along the trail, providing opportunities for rest and relaxation.
7. Trail Width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility devices, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for all users.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining experiences.
9. Assistance Animals: The trail welcomes assistance animals, such as service dogs, to accompany individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail, ensuring hydration for all users.
11. Trail Surface: The trail surface is designed to be smooth and even, allowing for easy wheelchair navigation.
12. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints and overlooks along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing everyone with the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
13. Accessible Interpretive Displays: Interpretive displays along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing information in formats suitable for individuals with disabilities.
14. Emergency Assistance: The trail is equipped with emergency call boxes or other means of communication to ensure the safety and well-being of all users, including those with disabilities.
15. Accessible Transportation: Public transportation options to the trailhead are available, ensuring individuals with disabilities can easily reach the trail.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Chinook Trail is a challenging and rugged trail, suitable for experienced hikers with good physical fitness and navigation skills.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including rain, snow, and strong winds, as the trail passes through diverse terrain and elevations.
3. Trail Markings: The trail is not well-marked in some sections, so carry a detailed map, compass, or GPS device to navigate effectively.
4. Water Sources: Plan your water supply carefully, as there are limited water sources along the trail, and some may require treatment or filtration.
5. Wildlife Encounters: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife, including bears, cougars, and snakes, and take necessary precautions such as making noise and storing food properly.
6. Emergency Communication: Cell phone coverage may be limited or nonexistent in certain areas, so consider carrying a satellite phone or emergency beacon for communication in case of emergencies.
7. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting the natural environment.
8. Permits and Regulations: Check if any permits or regulations are required before embarking on the trail, as certain sections may pass through private or protected lands.
9. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety, as the trail can be remote and isolated in some areas.
10. Physical Preparedness: Ensure you are physically prepared for the trail by gradually increasing your fitness level and carrying appropriate gear, including sturdy footwear and sufficient supplies.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Chinook Trail is currently considered to be stable. Efforts have been made to protect and preserve this trail, ensuring its longevity and ecological integrity. The trail is managed by various organizations and agencies that work towards its conservation and maintenance.

One of the key aspects of the conservation status of the Chinook Trail is the establishment of regulations and guidelines to minimize human impact on the surrounding environment. These regulations aim to prevent habitat degradation, erosion, and disturbance to wildlife. By implementing these measures, the trail’s conservation status is upheld, allowing for the preservation of the natural ecosystems it traverses.

Additionally, ongoing monitoring and assessment of the trail’s condition contribute to its conservation status. Regular inspections help identify any potential threats or issues that may arise, allowing for prompt action to be taken. This proactive approach ensures that the trail remains in good condition and minimizes any negative impacts on the surrounding environment.

Overall, the conservation status of the Chinook Trail is considered favorable due to the efforts put forth by various organizations and agencies. By implementing regulations, guidelines, and monitoring practices, the trail’s ecological integrity is protected, allowing visitors to enjoy its natural beauty while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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