Next year it will hopefully be a reality for joggers, walkers and bikers to veer off Centennial Trail just across the river from Arlington and head east up the Stillaguamish Valley, taking in views of soaring peaks and lush valleys. The trek on the Whitehorse Trail will cover 28 miles and will connect Arlington to Darrington and pass through the Oso mudslide site.
Unfortunately it’s not ready for prime time and won’t likely be until fall 2016. But that doesn’t mean that sections of the trail aren’t being spruced up. Crews cleared approximately 15 miles of the trail in November and decking work on a trestle bridge over the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River near 300th Street can be seen from Highway 530. Recently Northwest guidebook author Craig Romano made a portion of the trail near Trafton his hike of the week.
Antique farm equipment, including an orange tractor and green tiller, greet visitors near where the Whitehorse Trail begins. Currently the trail, which is an old Burlington Northern railroad line, is made up of loose rocks and gravel and only heads west (uncleared brush blocks the trail heading east).
A little less than a mile from the trailhead is an overhauled trestle bridge spanning the Stillaguamish River. The trestle bridge has improved decking and fencing and is safe to cross. From there the trail heads west through the Pilchuck Tree Farm, wetlands and meadows, and hooks up with the Centennial Trail approximately four miles from the Trafton trailhead. According to Romano’s post, the final mile is not recommended for use.