WALLA WALLA — The trail system surrounding Mill Creek and Bennington Lake is a place where one of the only boundaries is someone’s own strength.

The area was formed to harness Mill Creek and prevent flooding in Walla Walla. The project was completed after the prompting of the town’s chamber of commerce president at the time, Virgil Bennington, who lobbied Congress.

The public space features expansive views of grasslands, woods, farmland, the Blue Mountains, and, of course, Bennington Lake on more than 20 miles of trails that feel surprisingly remote even though they are less than a mile from the Walla Walla city limits.

Some of the trails are wide and flat and asphalted. Others take steep, sometimes lengthy, climbs through trees or rolling hills.

Multiple picnic shelters and benches are placed in scenic spots. Public restrooms are located at the parking areas and in a couple of places along the trail.

The combination makes it an excellent destination for people with a variety of skill levels. A family with a child just learning to ride a bicycle could bring a picnic and take the smooth, asphalted trail on the north side of Mill Creek from the Mill Creek project office to Rooks Park, where there is a playground.

Starting in the same place, an experienced rider could head east along Mill Creek and then circle Bennington Lake before going back, a loop that would take about one hour.

Those who seek an even greater challenge could go to downtown Walla Walla or explore the foothills of the Blue Mountains on nearby roads. Allegro Cyclery at 200 E. Main St. in downtown Walla Walla has bicycle rentals and information at the store and on its website at allegrocyclery.com.

Mill Creek Trails, Bennington Lake and Rooks Park, Walla Walla

LOCATION: From the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, travel west along U.S. Highway 12 to Walla Walla. The drive takes about two hours. Exit south on Airport Way and drive south. Head east on Reservoir Road and take the second left to reach the Mill Creek project office, one of many access points to the system.

WHAT YOU’LL DO: Bicycling, hiking, fishing, wildlife spotting and boating in vessels powered by electric motors, wind or human strength.

DIFFICULTY: 1 to 3 out of 5 depending on what you do.

DON’T FORGET: A map of the system. They are available at a chamber of commerce kiosk in downtown Walla Walla at First Avenue and Main Street. (It can be confusing the first time you visit.) Bicycle helmet, sunscreen, fishing license, water, snacks and life jackets for anyone who is boating.

NEARBY SITES OF INTEREST: Downtown Walla Walla is packed with independent restaurants, ice cream places and coffee houses, as well as stores that sell clothing, books, furniture, souvenirs and second-hand merchandise. Consider Colville Street Patisserie. It has espresso, pastries, gelato and wine by the glass.

WINE: Walla Walla is known for its wines for good reason. It is home to well-known brands that include Dunham Cellars and Canoe Ridge. Check out Vital Wines at 17 N. Second Ave. Its wines are exceptional, especially for the price. The profits go to health care and other resources for vineyard and winery employees.

Recommended for you