A metric century is a great accomplishment for any cyclist. With the number of cycle-friendly roads in Lewis County, 62 miles or 100 kilometers is a very achievable goal through a variety of routes.
But we're fond of one in particular: this ride allows you to see gorgeous views of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens on a clear day and experience several of our communities that serve as great places to stop and rest for a time.
This, just like most other rides here on Discover Lewis County, starts at Stan Hedwall Park in Chehalis. We’ve chosen that location because of its proximity to both Interstate 5, the Chehalis and Centralia downtown cores and the Willapa Hills Trail.
Start at the park and head east on 13th Avenue to Market Boulevard, and be cautious of the ascent just before you reach the traffic light. Once on Market, you’ll keep following the road south through the remainder of Chehalis and continue onward as it turns into Jackson Highway, leading you past the Newaukum River and toward Napavine.
Nearly 9 miles into the ride, you’ll come upon the intersection with state Route 508. Stop at the four-way stop and be mindful of the traffic all around you before proceeding straight through. Once you do, get your climbing muscles ready because there’s a bit of it to do here.
Take your time on the ascent and conserve as much energy as you can, because you still have plenty of mileage to go. Once you reach the apex of the ascent, Jackson Highway flattens out before it begins gently undulating until it reaches the intersection with U.S. Highway 12. Proceed through the light when it turns green, then turn your attention to your left as you’ll see a major historic site. It’s a good spot to catch your breath for a few minutes and learn about local history; welcome to the John R. Jackson House.
Take a few minutes and learn about the history of one of the oldest pioneer structures in Lewis County, which also served as a courthouse in 1850. It later became a home for the Jackson family, some of the earliest settlers to the area and the namesake for the highway on which you’re traversing on two wheels.
Hop back in the saddle and continue south on Jackson Highway. You’ll soon find that the ascent you endured earlier will pay off with a nice downhill through an old-growth forest that is also home to Lewis and Clark State Park. If you wish, utilize a Discover Pass and enjoy a picnic at the park; otherwise, contine to enjoy the descent down onto the Cowlitz Prairie where the highway opens up a bit.
Traffic will zoom by at about 50 mph, but you needn’t worry as the shoulders of Jackson Highway are generally wide and clean enough to provide cyclists an unabated bike lane of sorts to continue their travels. Enjoy the ride and take in the views of Mount Rainier to the east and Mount St. Helens to the southeast, and you also might be able to catch a glimpse of a plane taking off or landing at the Toledo Airport!
Continuing on, you’ll be at Toledo before you know it, and from here you have a couple options. Bear right on Plomondon Road to avoid a steep ascent later on, but bear in mind that this route skips the town of Toledo directly. The other option is to head down into Toledo, a perfect spot at which to grab a bite to eat and see the revitalization that is rapidly taking place in the town of 700.
Head west on Toledo-Vader Road, navigate the curves and you’ll soon be crossing over Interstate 5. By this point, you’re into the 22-mile mark of the ride with 40 more to go and you’re well into the groove.
Three or so of the next five miles are an exercise in endurance and road awareness, as Toledo-Vader Road becomes State Route 506. A series of curves and hills make situational awareness imperative, so while you’re trying to combat the climb, make sure you pay attention to traffic.
Once at the top of the hill, you can pedal lightly for a few before descending into Vader. The descent provides a welcome rest from the arduous climb, and you can even rest your legs as you coast through most of town. Hungry? Try a stop at the Little Crane Cafe, a delectable little eatery locally-known for its breakfasts and hearty lunches.
Pedal through the remainder of Vader, then hang a right onto Winlock-Vader road. You’ll be headed back north for 6 miles until you reach Winlock, another one of Lewis County’s historic towns. Bonus: Try to find all the chicken sculptures in downtown Winlock, and report back to us with just how many you see.
Head north on Kerron Avenue through town, staying on the west side of the railroad tracks, and you’ll soon be on a stretch of highway that was once a state highway but has retained its name of Highway 603. Keep going north until you reach Evaline, and take a left when you see the little schoolhouse.
Evaline School is one of Lewis County’s oldest school districts, and is its smallest today. Known locally as the “one-room schoolhouse,” this historic site is home to generally 40 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. A historic marker on site tells of its history; to see it, you’ll want to dismount your bike as a gravel driveway leads to it.
Back on Schoolhouse Road, it won’t be long until you turn right on Tennessee and left on Pleasant Valley Road. You’ll be riding through a forested area before emerging into a fertile agricultural area; make sure you pay attention on your right after a few miles as you’ll pass a residence that has erected the ever-so-whimsical Burma Shave signs along its fenceline.
Before you know it, you’ll be in the western end of Adna when the road hits a T with Twin Oaks Road. You’re a whopping 45 miles through the route with only 17 to go, but there’s still a lot to experience!
Take a right on Twin Oaks and follow it through the farmlands until you reach Highway 603 once again. Bear left on 603, and you’ll soon come to the Willapa Hills Trail, a premier biking, walking and equestrian trail stretching from Chehalis to Raymond. But you won’t be taking the trail now; instead, you’ll follow 603 all the way to its intersection with its parent highway, State Route 6.
Turn right and utilize the shoulder of State Route 6 for a short time until you come to Scheuber Road. Using proper lane signaling, show your intent to drivers that you wish to turn left onto Scheuber and make your turn when clear. You’ve got about five miles of riding north on Scheuber to do, so enjoy the ride and power through the slight inclines that make their presence known along the way.
Follow the road all the way to the stop sign at Military and Graf roads, and turn right on Military to head toward Centralia. Turn right onto Cooks Hill Road, and you’ll be in the Cooks Hill neighborhood, This portion of the ride is where you’re likely to encounter the most traffic along your ride, so again maintain a sense of situational awareness.
With only eight miles to go, this part is the fun one: you get to try a brand-new trail. At the Mellen Street interchange, bear right onto the brand-new Airport Road Trail and get ready to enjoy the primary cycling connection between Centralia and Chehalis. After hugging the newly-configured Airport Road for nearly 1.5 miles, you’ll take the same right-hand turn Airport Road takes, bringing you within just a stone’s throw of the Chehalis River and the Riverside Golf Club before connecting back with the main route, Louisiana Avenue.
Be mindful of cross traffic at this intersection, and once it’s clear, go through it and head up the West Street viaduct back over Interstate 5. From here, you’ll utilize surface streets to get through Chehalis, taking West Street then right on State, left on Center and right once again on Cascade. Follow Cascade for a mile or so before it turns into William Avenue, then continue straight after stopping at the 13th Avenue intersection.
You’re close to your destination, but to make it a full 62 miles, continue briefly on William and head south on 16t Street before turning right on Wilson. Now you’re ready to head back west on 13th by taking a left. Follow the road over the railroad tracks, across the overpass and turn into the first right of Stan Hedwall Park.
Do the loop around Stan Hedwall Park and end at the pavilion — you’re right back where you started from, and congratulations: you’ve just completed the Discover Lewis County Metric Century and explored several of our communities in the process!