By John King
Our Willapa Loop Auto Tour explores this corner of the Evergreen State, a well-watered region of rolling green hills, steady-flowing rivers, century-old farms and lumber towns whose bustle depends on the vicissitudes of the forest products industry. Fishing towns are scattered along the Columbia River’s lower reaches and the oyster industry remains important on Willapa Bay.
The auto tour begins on Interstate 5 at Centralia and follows a counterclockwise itinerary west to the Pacific Ocean, then south along the coast returning eastward along the Columbia River. Roads are two-laned (except for 41 miles of interstate between Kelso and Centralia) and paved. The route comprises approximately 230 miles and takes about five hours to complete. Including stops, this route makes a good day trip from Seattle or Portland, Oregon.
Because of COVID-19, please take recommended safety precautions if you are planning a future trip. Check before you go for amenities and capacity restrictions.
Find historic stops on the Chehalis and Willapa rivers as well as the Highway to Willapa Bay.
Visit the Oyster Capital of the World on your way to Cape Disappointment.
Explore Lewis and Clark sites and more attractions along the Columbia River.
Most-visit small towns including Winlock, which hosts the World’s largest egg. Plus a side trip to Mount St. Helen.