William Ives Trail
Hike description: The William Ives Trail is a young trail that tells an old story.
The Lacey trail is named for the surveyor credited with extending the Willamette Meridian (the principal line for land surveying in Washington) from Portland to Puget Sound. According to the city of Lacey website, the original point of the line was established June 4, 1851, near what is now the Portland Zoo. For the next two months, Ives headed north through Oregon Territory (Washington state was established in 1889), setting the line by planting posts every 1.5 miles all the way to the Nisqually Reach.
A sign telling the history of Ives and the Willamette Meridian is posted at the trailhead.
Built as part of a planned community but dedicated to the city for public use in 2008, William Ives Trail offers a flat, easily accessed walk in the woods near the Golf Club at Hawks Prairie’s Woodlands course. Benches along the trail offer opportunities to rest.
The trail has occasional fairway views, but the trees are thick enough to offer protection from errant golf shots. The trail stretches between Willamette Drive and Campus Park Drive, where walkers can cross the street and continue to a large pond. From the right angle, you could snap a selfie here that makes it look as if you ventured someplace wilder than north Lacey.
The road west of the pond is the aptly named Meridian Road. Just more than a mile from the pond at the northern end of the road is where Ives placed the final survey post for the Willamette Meridian.
Directions: From Interstate 5 in Lacey, take Exit 111 and turn north on Marvin Road. After 0.2 miles, turn right on Hogum Bay Road then right on Willamette Drive. After 1.5 miles turn right on Campus Glen Drive and park at Meridian Neighborhood Park. To find the trailhead, cross Campus Glen Drive and turn right on the sidewalk. Walk about 500 feet and the trail starts on your left.
Difficulty rating: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 2.5.
Elevation gain: Mostly flat.
Best time of the year: Year-round.
Map: A map of all city of Lacey parks and trails can be found at ci.lacey.wa.us, but the map offers no detail of the Ives Trail. Google Maps — the entire hike is within cellphone range — shows the trail route if you zoom in on the area.
Also: If the parking lot is full, parallel parking is permitted along Campus Drive. A restroom is located at Meridian Neighborhood Park. The trail is open 7 a.m.-dusk. Alcohol and controlled substances are prohibited in all Lacey parks. Pets must be on leashes and cleaned up after. A geocache is hidden on the trial, and others are in the area, according to geocaching.com.