Did you mean?Try your search again
While the Chehalis River can be fast moving and deep at this location, people do swim in it.
On the north side of the river (the side with the camping facilities) there is a hiking trail along the banks of the Chehalis River. It runs west to the edge of the park (which isn't very far at all), between the camping sites and the river.
At the far west end of this trail, there is a lightly built staircase carved into the bank of the river, providing access to the river.
At this location, it is possible to see people swimming and otherwise cooling off in the river on warm days, but keep in mind that the river does fall off pretty severely in places and it is not a good idea to go too far out due to the severe depth and the chances of being swept away in the very strong current of the river at this narrow point.
Written May 20, 2012
While it is certainly no huge, spectacular waterfall, Rainbow Falls itself is a pleasant spot for a state park, and the falls may be seen on the wide spot on highway 6, or from the campground and picnic part of the park that may be accessed from Leudinghaus Road. The rainbow itself created by the falls and creating the name of the falls and park is only visible from a certain angle. I have been told by the park host, who has hosted here for a number of years, that the rainbow was usually visible from the bridge, which was knocked out by the big flood in December of 2007.
The best time to view the falls is during the higher water periods, but of course not during such floods as wiped out the bridge into the park from highway 6! Also, if the water is too high, then the rocks forming the falls will be submerged!
I suggest a visit in February or March or so. This is when the rain should be giving a bit of strength ot the water here.
Updated May 19, 2012
There is a huge open field in the central north end of this park. It may be used as a games field, or to picnic in the sun.
There is a single fairly good sized picnic shelter with a grill.
Traffic on highway 6 is somewhat far away. While it is still audible, it is reasonably far away, and the environment is reasonably comfortable for relaxation.
Updated May 19, 2012
The Willapa Hills Trail runs from Chehalis to Raymond and South Bend, a distance of over 50 miles (80 km). The trail essentially parallels highway 6, but in some places it is further from highway 6 than others. The section near Rainbow Falls State Park is one of the sections where the trail is far enough from highway 6 that even the traffic noise is seldom, if ever, heard. The nearest busy road is Leudinghaus Road, which has some traffic but not a huge amount most of the time as it is not a major through road.
The section of the trail near Rainbow Falls State Park is essentially flat and straight as an arrow from the community of Dryad (1 mile west of the park) to Meskill (3 miles east of the park). The path doesn't have much along it to recommend it in terms of major scenic features. However, for the most part it is free of conflict with auto traffic (only a few driveways and minor road crossings, the major highway is on the other side of the Chehalis River). In fact, only one of the road crossings is of a paved road, and many of the crossings are of dirt roads that are essentially driveways, many of which are in worse shape than the trail in terms of roughness. This section of the trail is mostly very fine packed gravel for the entire length of this section.
Along the trail there are a number of forests and wetlands, and through this area it is possible to encounter wildlife of various types, though the various bird species that tend to like this habitat are very good at hiding in the trees and bushes. Even so, you will find a fair number of song birds through here in the summer months. There trail crosses Dell Creek on a wooden bridge that has been adapted to the use of the trail. Similar crossings at Garret Creek at the east end and Marcuson Creek at the west end of this section of the trail are similar.
Written May 19, 2012
If you explore the short road system of this park on foot a little bit, you will find that near the horse camp area there is a sign indicating that a fairly wide pathway and arrows point northward that say "Willapa Hills Trail".
This trail is a short, but very useful and vital part of the trails network in the park, as it serves as a link between this state park and the over 50 mile (80 km) multi-use trail between Chehalis and Raymond and South Bend. This long distance trail is the Willapa Hills Trail. This short connector trail allows park visitors to easily connect with this much longer trail, which is especially useful for bike and horse campers that want a longer recreational trail opportunity. Going the other direction, users of the trail have access to the state park's showers, camp sites, picnic spaces and other facilities that are not available directly along the multi-use trail.
The trail is gravel from the multi-use trail south to Leudinghaus Road, and dirt from Leudinghaus Road into the state park itself.
The route of the trail isn't marked once you get to Leudinghaus Road, but the route of the pathway should be reasonably clear as there is a gate on each side of the road. The gate on the south side of the road and the gate on the north side of the road are duplicates of eachother, and the trail continues on the north side of the road past the gate that looks exactly like the one on the south. The other road is an access road to several residences, and this should be obvious as it has several mail boxes where it joins Leudinghaus Road. If this description isn't obvious, please see photo 2 of this tip. The gate on the left is an exact duplicate of the gate from which this photo was taken, and represents a continuation of the trail north of the state park to the multi-use long distance trail. The driveway on the right has mailboxes and no gate, and is not what people are supposed to use to get to the trail from the state park.
Unfortunately, the north end of the trail is not marked as to where it goes from the Willapa Hills Trail. The fact that there is a wide gravel swath that is in far better condition than the dirt road driveways, with no connection to a house on the other end, is the only indication this trail goes anywhere to the south, as of this writing. Most likely, this is a good thing as most of the signs along the Willapa Hills Trail have been shot up by vandals with guns to the point where they can not be read. Posting a sign here would only be a waste of money under these conditions.
On the map of the park, located on the state parks web site for this park, this connector trail is called "Willapa Hills Trail access".
Updated May 19, 2012
While the number of hiking trails in the park is fairly small, they are here. Nearby, there is a biking trail on an old railroad line that ran from Chehalis to Raymond, Washington. Getting there requires going north from the park and isn't that easy to do unless you are familiar with the area.
To get to the railroad right of way using public roads, you would have to go west 1 mile to the community of Dryad, and then head north a short distance. These roads are narrow and people drive fast on them, so walking along them is not for the faint of heart.
The short hiking trail along the edge of the Chehalis River allows for some nice views, and there is a stairway down to the edge of the water for those who would like to go swimming.
As the bridge over the Chehalis River washed out in late 2008, getting from one side of the river to the other is currently a challenge. Trails on the south side of the park are in forest.
Written Jun 10, 2009
At one point in time, it was possible to walk from the campground and picnic area to the trails through the forest on the oppiside side of the Chehalis River. It was also possible to drive directly from highway 6 into the park.
This is no longer the case.
After some years of clearcutting of timber on the surrounding hills (at least one lumber company has recently suggested that they might have over-cut the hillsides) there have been several major floods in the area. In recent months this has completely eliminated many bridges over the Chehalis River, including both the auto and pedestrian bridges formerly at Rainbow Falls.
It appears that it will be some years before they are replaced.
Current auto routing to get to the park means crossing the Chehalis River at the community known as Meskill. From highway 6, turn north onto River Road, and run parallel to the river for several hundred feet. Turn right onto the temporary bolt-together bridge over the Chehalis River (ONLY ONE VEHICLE AT A TIME!!!). Turn right onto Leudinghaus Road. After 3 miles, turn left into the park.
If you have a large motorhome, you will NOT be able to fit over the temporary bridge, and will have to find an alternate route.
Written Jun 11, 2009
The showers in this state park are pay showers.
Unique Suggestions: Be sure to bring a fair amount of coins with you when you go to the shower.
Fun Alternatives: Go smelly? Bathe in the river? (With environmentally sensitive soap, we would hope!)
Updated Jun 11, 2009