Centennial trail @ Nakashima Barn Trail Head - Arlington Area Walk

A new section of the Centennial Trail has opened at the Northern most end. Let's go check it out.

Plan on walking about 6-8 miles RT, although you are free to turn around at any point.

Dogs in attendance must be leashed and have their owner present.

As always this time of year, check the site before leaving for any changes, cancellations or postponements due to weather, road conditions or illness.

Article and photo by Craig Romano

The 29.5 mile Centennial Trail ends (or
begins) at the Nakashima Heritage Barn.

Quick Facts

Location: SR 9 just south of Skagit County line

Land Agency: Snohomish and Skagit County Parks

Roundtrip: 8.0 miles

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Access: From Arlington (junction of SR 530-SR 9), follow SR 9 north for 7.6 miles turning left into park. Proceed .1 mile to parking area.

Notes: Dogs must be on leash.

Contact: Snohomish County Parks; www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Parks

Hikers, runners, and bicyclists have much to celebrate with the Grand Opening of the Nakashima Barn County Park this past week. The park is the new northern terminus of the extremely popular Snohomish Centennial Trail. Here at the restored heritage barn, you can set out on four miles of newly paved trail all the way to Bryant. Heck, you can set out from the barn for 29.5 miles all the way to the city of Snohomish. But that’s probably better done by bike than by hike.

And while the rail line has been abandoned, the bed that once housed it has since been converted into a 56 mile non-motorized multi-use trail. Administered by Washington State Parks, the Willapa Hills Trails makes for some great wanderings into the past—and into a part of the state rarely visited by hikers. Along this trail you can pass by communities fading into history. Trek across trestles. Saunter past wetlands teeming with song birds. Amble alongside lazy rivers draining saturated hillsides. Share the sparsely populated surroundings with deer, coyotes, bear, and elk.

While the main draw of the park will definitely be the trail, be sure to check out the restored barn. The barn’s farm has a long, fascinating, and somber history. Farming operations began on this rolling property just south of Lake McMurray shortly after the turn of the 20th century by Daniel Waldo Bass and his wife Sophie. Sophie’s grandfather was A. A. Denny, the “Father of Seattle,” who landed at Alki Point in November 13, 1851. In 1937 Bass sold the farm to Japanese-American Takeo Nakashima. Nakashima with the enlistment of his family continued a dairy operation on the property.

However, after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Nakashima family was sent in 1942 to internment camps in Idaho and California and was forced to sell their farm. Over the years the farm changed hands many times and dairying operations eventually ceased. In 1997 the Trust for Public Land purchased 89 acres of the farm including the only remaining structure, the barn, and turned it over to the county to become a park. In 2007 the barn was listed on Washington’s heritage barn register, becoming the state’s first and only one so far belonging to an Asian-American farming family. It was restored this year and houses murals of historic photos.

While the farm once encompassed 1,200 acres, most of the surrounding land is still rural. The county park preserves mainly wetland meadows. Most of the land west of the park is thick timber belonging to the Pilchuck Tree Farm and is managed for sustainable forestry, recreation and wildlife management.

From the barn to Bryant, the Centennial Trail passes mainly through woodlands, presenting a much wilder side than its southern sections. Follow the trail from the barn passing the dedication monument and skirting a wetland pool. Then cross the creek named Tributary 80. Shortly afterward the trail bends south. Here an unpaved (and open for hiking) section of the Centennial Trail heads north into Skagit County. Trail advocates hope that someday soon this section too will be paved and extended all the way to the Cascade Trail.

Explore if you wish or keep following the Centennial Trail south through a thick forest of maple, alder, fir and the occasional Sitka spruce, coming to Pilchuck Creek at about 2.6 miles. This is a good spot to turn around. But, if you feel like continuing, cross the creek on a high bridge and continue another 1.4 miles to Bryant where you can stop at the country store for a snack, or keep going all the way to Arlington—and beyond!

For information on lodging and other attractions near the Nakashima Barn visit www.snohomish.org.


Join or login to comment.

  • Andy C.

    Had a great time. Grace could not do the whole distance due to an old ACL problem, but did about 2 miles R/T. She was sore today. Thanks for making us feel welcome on our first Meetup.
    Andy and Vicki Clark

    April 22, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    This is a great trail to walk in the rain. There were plenty of sights and smells for the dogs to enjoy and we enjoyed those scents all the way home. I was determined to walk until the sun came out and it arrived just as we neared the end. Thanks for coming out and walking with us today. Good to see corgis of all ages, sizes, colors and abilities able to do at least part of the walk.

    April 22, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    FYI I don't think Pattys takes credit cards so if you want lunch bring cash

    April 20, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    Thinking about stopping for lunch afterwards at Pattys egg nest at junction of I5 and hwy530 if anybody else is interested.
    Also, I can drive someone else and dog from Edmonds/Lynwood area. If you want to carpool let me know

    April 20, 2013

    • Kathy L.

      Vanessa, meet me at the mount lake terrace freeway station - exit #178 (236th st sw)- at 8:55. I will text you then you will have my cell.

      April 20, 2013

    • Vanessa

      Thanks, Kathy. I will see you there.

      April 20, 2013

  • Carole & Mark W.

    Looking forward to it. I think we may have acquired another Corgi since our last meet. We may do Patty's too! Gotta talk to the Boss! ;)

    April 20, 2013

  • Syrinda S.

    I have declined all up to here. If communication improves. I will re-evaluate

    February 9, 2013

  • Andy C.

    Grace willl bring Vicki and I to her first Corgi walk. Looking forward toit.

    January 5, 2013

11 went

This Meetup is community funded


Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs
  • Excess funds will be donated to CorgiAid - http://www.corgiaid.org/

60 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to continue attending Meetups.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sometimes the best Meetup Group is the one you start

Get started Learn more

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy