HIKE DESCRIPTION: The entire stretch of the Swan Creek Trail is within 2.2 miles of the Tacoma Dome, but after just a few steps you’ll feel like you’re a world away.
Cross the bridge over Swan Creek and enter the lush green canyon for a quiet walk to the south end of Swan Creek Park. Well, mostly quiet at least. The trail is close enough to the roads and nearby construction work to give you an occasional reminder that you’re not far from town.
Starting at the Pioneer Way trailhead, the walk up the canyon is about 2.2 miles. You can return the same way or take the Canyon Rim Trail. I looped back on the Canyon Rim Trail on a recent visit, but it’s not as scenic as the canyon.
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The upper park has a few more short trails for wandering including a grid of old paved roads.
The mountain bike trails are closed to foot traffic, just as the other trails are closed to bikes. The bike trails are worth visiting too. Tacoma’s first mountain bike park opened last spring. It is small with several challenging sections encircled by a 2-mile trail called “Hustle and Flow” that’s designed for riders of all levels.
DIRECTIONS: From Interstate 5 in Tacoma, take Exit 135 to East 28th Street, which will become state Route 167 (River Road). Veer right on Pioneer Way and continue to the trailhead, on your right, after the Clay Art Center and before Waller Road.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (1=easiest, 5 = most difficult).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 4.5.
ELEVATION: 600 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
MAP: Maps are available at metroparkstacoma.org.
ALSO: The bike park can be accessed at East 56th Street east of Portland Avenue and East T Street near Lister Elementary School. A work party at the mountain bike park scheduled for May 24 at 10 a.m. Swan Creek Park covers 373 acres, with 290 acres owned by Metro Parks Tacoma and 83 owned by Pierce County. The park is popular spot for bird-watching. Dogs must be on leashes. There are several geocaches hidden in the park.
Craig Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org