With summer just around the corner, that big fire ball in the sky beginning to make its 2014 debut makes me want to head outdoors. When the weather gets better all I want to do is soak it up, because Lord knows that in Washington, it’s not going to last very long. That being said, the lovely Evergreen State is undoubtedly the country’s biggest natural playground! There is so much to appreciate and explore right here in our own backyard.
One trail that I have heard many good things about is the Chambers Bay Loop. The trail is located just south of University Place and is 2.25 miles long with serious inclines and both coastal and mountain views. For those with children and/or dogs, there is a great park and an off-leash area with plenty of room for kites and frisbees. So even if you don’t feel like hiking, this is a beautiful landscape for an afternoon in the sun. This trail is just a 20-minute drive west from UWT.
The next trail is a 10-minute drive up S 19th St and features a vast array of Douglas firs, Pacific madrones, black cottonwoods, Sitka alders and two Garry oak trees. The Tacoma Nature Center forest walk is three miles in its entirety. If you wish to walk a shorter distance, the trail is divided into three different walks: the forest walk, the history walk and the wetland walk. This trail is ideal for those with young children because there are “hands on” activities at the visitor’s center. One thing to keep in mind about this trail is that it is closed on Sundays.
The last trail that I’ll mention in this article is definitely for those seeking beautiful mountain views: The Fort Steilacoom Park measures a total of seven miles and features lakes, wildflowers, meadows, and views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. Fort Steilacoom Park is kid friendly; dogs are allowed without a leash but keep an eye out for mountain bikers! The park’s Waughop Lake meadows also offer excellent bird watching.
For more information about trails, preparation and rules to follow visit http://www.wta.org/