My kids love to ride their bikes, but, alas…we live on the side of a hill. Because of this, any biking we do means first hopping in the car. Recently, we’ve really enjoyed heading down to Orting and exploring the Foothills Trail. It’s a terrific resource for those who like to get out and about, and is just about perfect for families with kids of all ages.
The Foothills Trail is a rail-trail, which means it’s built on top of an abandoned railroad bed. The Foothills Trail is a paved, 12 foot wide trail with a soft side trail for horses. It is for non-motorized vehicles only, and great for in line skating, biking, walking, and running. There is currently a 15 mile long continuous section that begins in East Puyallup and extends to South Prairie. Check out the website to see info on trailheads, etc.
Our favorite stretch of the Foothills Trail begins in Orting. This section leaves downtown Orting to pass by a field of cows, passes alongside the Carbon River, goes over several bridges and former railroad trestles, and even gives some glimpses of Mt.Rainier. I’ve ridden (alone) the almost 11 miles down to South Prairie and back and it’s beautiful, fast, and flat with very few road crossings. With my 5 and 6 year old with me we ride until we feel like turning around (usually a 2-3 miles) and ride back to Orting. Of course, no bike ride on the Foothills Trail would be complete without a stop at the playground downtown!
We have also ridden the section beginning at the McMillan trailhead and heading 2.3 miles into Orting. This is also a nice section, but it has quite a few road crossings. It also runs alongside a busy road, so it’s not quite as peaceful. However, riding to the playground gave us a goal and a nice break halfway through the ride.
One thing that I really appreciate about this trail is it gives my kids great practice in biking etiquette and safety in a low-risk environment.
Note from SFM: Sadly, the Orting Bakery has closed. If you know of another good place for eats or treats along the trail, do leave a comment! Our family often does the section in Puyallup and stops before the road crossing. It’s also a good place for blackberry picking! Another possible destination is Veteran’s Park in South Prairie. It’s right behind the fire station, and you can splash or play in the river (always use caution with water and kiddos, of course ). You can read about that park here. If you have another favorite route or destination on the Foothills Trail, leave a comment! We’d love know about it! Oh, and PS, I’d love a picture of the Orting playground. If you have a good one, share it on the fb page if you have a chance. Thanks!