Midway between Portland and Seattle, halfway between the Cascades and the coast, Lewis County’s at the center of it all.
But we think you should stop and stay here for awhile. Spend a weekend here and experience our scenery, culture, history, outdoor opportunities — the list goes on and on.
Speaking of lists, we’ve come up with eight quick reasons why you should visit Lewis County. There are certainly more, but these are the ones that jump out at us right now. Without further adieu…we bring you the biggest reasons why you should come discover Lewis County!
1. Lewis County boasts some of the best trails in the state of Washington.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is full of them. The Pacific Crest Trail is perhaps the best-known of them. From hiking to horseback, an extensive network of trails — urban and remote — call to a variety of people who want to get out and explore the outdoors or the community around them. Want to gain some massive elevation and see a bunch of mountains around you? Head to Burley Mountain. Want to keep it close to the cultural center of Lewis County? Keep it in Centralia and make an afternoon of it at the Seminary Hill Natural Area.
2. We’re home to a thriving agricultural scene, producing everything from vegetables to award-winning cheeses.
If you take a journey down the side roads of West Lewis County in particular, you’ll be greeted by farmlands that open up almost as far as the eye can see, with mountains as a distant backdrop to paint the scene. From these farmlands comes a variety of produce and cheeses that are sold on site, at farmers’ markets far and wide and even on the Internet for your convenience. (But we really want you to come visit them in person.)
3. Our cities are home to vibrant arts scenes from theatre arts to mixed media.
We recently wrote about the theatre scene in Lewis County, but there’s much more to the arts in Lewis County than the stage or screen! Check out the ARTrails annual community art tour, and give a visit to some of the cool galleries in our region like Art Gallery 505 in Toledo and the Barbara Clevenger Johnson Gallery in Morton. You’ll love seeing art thrive in our rural communities!
4. Mountains, waterfalls, high vistas and sweeping valleys — we have some of the best scenery out there.
Mount St. Helens lies just to our southeast. So does Mount Adams. And a good portion of Mount Rainier National Park lies right within Lewis County. Higher elevations mean beautiful bird’s-eye views of what’s below: sweeping valleys that so many people have called home for generations. Get in the car and take a road trip; the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is a good center point from which to launch branches of your journey.
5. The 56-mile Willapa Hills Trail runs right through Lewis County on the way to its end near the coast.
Packed with a rich history and a bright future, the Willapa Hills Trail takes people on bike, foot, horse and even sled down what was once a railroad that brought passengers from Chehalis to Pacific County and vice versa. The railroad is gone, but in its place is one of Washington’s newest rail-to-trail projects that continues to get better by the day.
6. Our fishing is awesome year after year.
From Toledo to points northeast, the Cowlitz River brings forth a healthy salmon run each year. Boat launches and public fishing spots up and down the Cowlitz give the perfect opportunity to catch your limit. And if the rivers aren’t your thing, we have numerous lowland lakes that are continually stocked with trout and other species.
7. History comes alive wherever you go. How much you find depends on how hard you look!
Start at the Lewis County Historical Museum and work your way across Lewis County from there. History buffs will enjoy the Historic Downtown Chehalis Walking Tour and will also love learning about some of the lesser-known yet very important historical areas throughout our area. Want to find the oldest bridge in Lewis County? How about the oldest Catholic mission in Washington, that was established more than 50 years before our statehood? History is everywhere, and the stories abound.
8. Antiquing draws people from up and down the I-5 corridor and beyond.
Did you know that a lot of people make their way to Centralia by train to discover the antiquing scene in the Hub City? Centralia’s status as a stop on the Amtrak Cascades route makes the downtown area of the Hub City a perfect spot to grab a bite to eat, explore the area and visit the wide variety of antique shops downtown — and trust us, there are a lot of them!
Convinced? Head on over to our lodging opportunities page and find a rental cabin, hotel, motel, campsite or RV hookup and plan your vacation!