Puyallup’s Nathan Chapman Trail
Hike description: In a patch of woods between neighborhoods and churches is a rarity for heavily populated South Hill: Public park land.
The Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail runs from South Hill Community Park to Heritage Recreation Center and offers a peaceful getaway from the busy community.
Starting from either end of the South Hill Community Park parking lot, the paved path offers options.
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For a longer trip, start near the park’s play toy and follow the path east. At the first intersection, turn right. After about 0.25 miles, head right again to follow the trail’s longest stretch north to the Heritage Recreation Center.
At the recreation area, you can head back to the parking lot by retracing your steps or follow another trail segment in South Hill Community Park. This will make your hike 2 miles.
There are several options for extending your trip after arriving at Heritage. A circular paved path around the perimeter of the ball field is 0.4 mile.
Or cut through the park, cross 128th Street (careful, it’s busy. There’s a crosswalk nearby at the intersection of 94th Avenue and 128th Street), then follow 90th Avenue for a block to another short section of paved trail.
This trail is meant to eventually connect the Chapman Trail to the future Cross County Commuter Connector trail. The CCCC (better known as the Pipeline Trail) isn’t complete, but the corridor can be used by walkers and cyclists. The corridor and the Chapman Trail take travelers between the South Hill community and Swan Creek parks with minimal road exposure.
Directions: From eastbound state Route 512 take the 94th Avenue East exit toward the South Hill Mall and turn right. Continue 1.2 miles, then right on 128th Street. (The Heritage Recreation Center parking lot at the northern end of the trail is on your left after 0.2 mile.) Turn left on 86th Avenue and continue 0.8 mile to South Hill Park.
Difficulty rating: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 2, with options to walk farther.
Elevation gain: Flat.
Best time of the year: Year-round.
Map: A map can be downloaded at bit.ly/2lV76rI.
Also: The trail is named for Nathan Chapman, an Army sergeant first class from South Hill who was killed in 2002 while serving in Afghanistan. Chapman was honored with a Bronze Star with Valor and a Purple Heart. A plaque with information about Chapman is posted at the trailhead at the north end of the South Hill Community Park parking lot. Read more about the Cross County Commuter Connector at bit.ly/2lXHIjB. Dogs must be on a leash and cleaned up after. Benches are placed along the trail. There are restrooms but they are not always open.are several geocaches along the trail, according to geocaching.com.