Foothills Trail Extension Feasibility

Cascade Junction to Carbonado

image of Gale Creek Canyon along the Foothills Trail Nov 2019
Project Updates

JUNE 2022: The project team has been working to develop preliminary trail route options and an evaluation process to assess each alternative. Tribal representatives, regulatory agencies, and other key stakeholders recently convened to review and provide input on the evaluation process, criteria, and initial alternatives. Over the next several weeks, the team will work to incorporate feedback and refine the alternatives. 

FEBRUARY 2022: The project team completed an on-the-ground geotechnical and ecological assessment of the project area from Cascade Junction to Carbonado, documenting ownership gaps and trail conditions. This assessment was shared with tribal representatives, regulatory agencies, and other key stakeholders in early 2022 and facilitated a preliminary discussion of trail routing, cost, constructability considerations, and permitting challenges. Given the feedback we heard and the complex conditions, the project will next evaluate options that would avoid some of the most ecologically fragile, unstable, or difficult to permit areas. 

Project Documents:

To read more on either the existing conditions or the project team recommendations, please check out the resources below.

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About the Project

The Foothills Trail Extension from Cascade Junction to Carbonado is the next step toward realizing the long-term vision of connecting the Foothills Trail to Mount Rainier National Park. This project is studying current conditions on the ground, analyzing route options, and identifying permitting requirements. This project will result in a preferred trail route and high-level cost estimates to inform the planning and development of the trail.

The project got underway in late 2021, and the project team will be working to develop trail alignment options over the next several months. A final report is anticipated for late Summer 2022. 


The Foothills Trail is a 21-mile non-motorized trail connecting the City of Puyallup and the White River in Buckley. The long-term vision for this trail includes a connection south to Mount Rainier National Park through the communities of Wilkeson and Carbonado.

The Cascade Junction to Wilkeson/Carbonado section of Foothills Trail is in an undeveloped, primitive condition and is closed to public use. Due to flood events in 2008 and 2009, the Wilkeson Creek Canyon (also referred to as Gale Creek Canyon) area has been severely damaged with portions of the old rail bed no longer intact.

Learn more about the history of the Foothills Trail.

Project Contact

Brianne Blackburn, Trails Coordinator
(253) 798-4261 | email