Location: Centralia. Length: Over 2 miles of trails; muddy after rains. Level of difficulty: Level-to-moderately steep, dirt/bark paths...

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Location: Centralia.

Length: Over 2 miles of trails; muddy after rains.

Level of difficulty: Level-to-moderately steep, dirt/bark paths.

Setting: After you drop off a friend to go antiquing or shop the outlet malls, you can do a hike in Centralia. These lovely 60 acres of wooded trails are perched on a hill just to the east of Centralia’s historic downtown. The mixed forest of Douglas firs and western red cedars, laced with big-leaf maples and alders, includes vine maples that will add color as the leaves turn. A large metal map of the hill’s trails greets visitors at the trailhead; paper copies are sometimes available in the adjacent box, or can usually be obtained at the visitor’s center near the outlet stores (from the Exit 82 ramp, turn right, then right again).

The trail system consists of a lot of short trail loops that link together, and junctions are sometimes marked by flat granite markers. Stay on the obvious trails, and don’t cut between them; steep eroded banks testify to past shortcutters.

Highlights: Where did the park’s name come from? In 1884, the Northwest Convention of Missionary Baptists established a seminary in Centralia. George Washington, an African-American pioneer who in 1875 established the town of Centerville (later renamed Centralia), donated $10,000 for the building fund. The new seminary became a city landmark; although the building was razed in 1938, the area is still known as Seminary Hill. From April through September, volunteers lead trail walks.

Facilities: None.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect. No bikes.

Directions: From Interstate 5 about 90 minutes south of Seattle, take Exit 82, and at the end of the exit ramp, turn east on Harrison Avenue. Follow the road about a mile east to downtown Centralia (it curves to become Main Street). After passing through downtown and crossing over the train tracks, turn right on Gold Street, then left in a block onto Locust Street. The park is four blocks ahead on the right, at the intersection with Barner Street.

For more information: 360-330-7688 or www.centraliaguide.com.

— Cathy McDonald, Special to The Seattle Times

Cathy McDonald, a Renton-based freelance writer, is a regular contributor to Northwest Weekend.