Saturday, September 3, 2011

Biking the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail

The Bill Chipman Palouse Trail is a paved 10 foot wide trail running 8 miles from the University of Idaho campus in Moscow, Idaho, to the Washington State Campus in Pullman, Washington, along Highway 270. The trail crosses the Paradise Creek 13 times as you pass through the countryside and a few businesses. Classes had just begun for the season, and the trail was predominantly in use by college students when I biked it, a few of whom had book bags on their backs and appeared to be commuting to classes in the other town.

It was end of summer and the wheat fields had been harvested...

Here's a map of the trail taken from one of the informative kiosks scattered along the the trail. 

You'll find portable toilets and emergency phones at mileposts 1.5 and 5.0 from Pullman, and there are plans for both Pullman and Moscow to build loop trails in each city that connect to this trail.

In Moscow, the trail connects to the 4 mile (or so) Paradise Path which takes you on a winding course through the University of Idaho campus and connects you to the eastbound 12 mile long paved Latah Trail to Troy, ID.

Bill Chipman was a dedicated father, businessman, and good friend of many on the Palouse who was tragically killed in a 1996 auto accident. Community sentiment supported the naming of the new trail in his memory. The Bill Chipman Palouse Trail is maintained and managed by a coalition of park and trail representatives from the Whitman County, the City of Pullman, the City of Moscow, the University of Idaho, and Washington State University.

For those wondering, according to Wikipedia, "palouse"is a region encompassing parts of Eastern Washington, north central Idaho, and eastern Oregon, and is an agricultural area growing wheat and legumes. Some say the French-Canadian traders changed the name of the local Indian tribe "Palus" to the French "palouse" meaning "land with short and thick grass."

To get to the east end in Moscow, take SR 270 into Moscow and turn north at Perimeter Road and park in the Palouse Mall shopping center parking lot. Cross back over SR 270 and turn west onto the path. All of the property to the south of SR 270 is part of the University of Idaho and is closed to public parking.

To get to the west end, take SR 270 into Pullman and turn south on Bishop Boulevard, the first light going into town from the east. Turn left in about two blocks into a small parking area. The trail begins at Bishop Blvd.

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