The newest additions to Enumclaw’s trail scene are a good fit for nearly everyone. Whether on foot, riding a bicycle, atop a skateboard or in a wheelchair, a pair of trails on the city’s north side check all the boxes.
Totaling 1.4 miles, the new trails are unchallenging and brand-new smooth, geared toward any non-motorized use.
Recently presented with finishing touches are a longer stretch of pavement that hugs the south side of Battersby Avenue and a shorter stretch that runs north from Battersby. The Battersby portion begins at Garrett Street and terminates at Farman Street (284th Avenue Southeast), the site of Ellenson Park and the city’s “bark park.” The north portion runs to the city limits, just short of McHugh Avenue.
Anyone keeping a decent pace can finish both in 30 minutes and it’s a short stroll from one trail to the other. Both, however, are out-and-back trails so the experience, and time commitment, is doubled.
While the Battersby trail stays near the road, the north trail section is far more interesting. The reason? The interest picks up where the pavement ends.
The north trail follows an abandoned railroad line, which was a crucial and colorful part of Enumclaw’s past. From Battersby to the end of the pavement takes most walkers less than 10 minutes, but an unpaved portion allows for a quieter experience. While the paved portion is urban in nature (views of homes and businesses, with occasional litter) it quickly gives way to trees and blackberry bushes and views of rural life.
As the unpaved trail heads north, users will first cross 432nd Street (a westerly extension of McHugh Avenue); the dirt-path trail narrows to single-user status and eventually crosses Southeast 424th Street before ending shy of Southeast 416th. Expect to spend an hour if traveling with a canine companion.
The north trail section has added significance because it is seen as a future continuation of the Foothills Trail. While sitting primarily in Pierce County, the Foothills Trail includes a popular stretch on Enumclaw’s south side that runs toward the White River.
Less noticeable is a network that cuts through town and connects the north and south trail sections. After crossing state Route 410, the trail consists of a wide sidewalk along Garrett Street. That wider-than-normal sidewalk crosses Griffin Avenue, continues north and turns west on Washington Avenue; at First Street there is an existing, paved trail that slices through industrial parcels between Washington and Battersby.
Two two trail sections have an interesting storyline, as they were funded by federal money originally earmarked for a much different use.
The story began years ago when Enumclaw was actively pursuing plans to build a Welcome Center and had secured funding for the project. After years of planning and preparation (and changes at the top of city government) the Welcome Center idea was scuttled.
But, the money remained and, under federal guidelines, there were allowances for “repurposing” the dollars. One of the allowable uses was a trail for nonmotorized use. The city successfully petitioned for a change of plan.