Where to Find Easy Hikes and Trails in Tacoma

Tacoma Waterfront
••• Tacoma's Waterfront along Ruston Way. Kristin Kendle

Hikes and trails in Tacoma are found in abundance in this mid-sized Northwest town, as well as in surrounding communities. Tacoma has many parks and green spaces suitable for all hiking abilities—in fact, almost all of the hikes located in town involve little or no incline and paved, gravel, or dirt paths. Whether you want to see some sights, walk by the water, or hike through a forest, there are Tacoma trails just waiting to be explored.

The trails below are all easy for just about anyone—the paths are paved, the inclines are extremely moderate or nonexistent. If you want more of a challenge, check out the moderate trails in Tacoma.

Downtown Walking Tour

One of the best Tacoma walks if you haven’t thoroughly checked out the downtown area is a downtown walking tour. On this walk, you can check out the Tacoma Art Museum and other museums downtown or pop into one of the restaurants downtown as well. Lots of cool glass art is located along the way by famed artist Dale Chihuly, who is a Tacoma native, as well as other public art on the streets and in the museums.

Access: Start at the Tacoma Art Museum located at 1701 Pacific Avenue.
Conditions: Paved streets and sidewalks
Difficulty: Easy


The Tacoma Waterfront is one of the best places to walk anywhere in the region—it’s scenic, paved, level, and has a number of restaurants located along the way if you want a break.

The span is about two-miles one way from the very start of the trail at McCarver. There is not much parking in that area, though, and more is located in the middle of the trail near the RAM, Shenanigan’s, and other restaurants. On sunny days, you can see both the Olympics and Cascades from here. Always visible is the Port of Tacoma, Vashon Island, and Northeast Tacoma.

Access: You can get onto the trail lining the water at any point along Ruston Way between McCarver and North 49th Street. Parking is located at several lots between these two points.
Conditions: Paved
Difficulty: Easy

Snake Lake

Snake Lake is a surprising walk tucked off South 19th Street near Fred Meyer. At one moment, you are in the middle of town, and the next you will feel like you are in a quiet forest. You can hear freeway traffic toward the end of the path, but for the most part, it is quite pristine. The paths are dirt, but they are level, and they circle around wetlands and a pond. You can pick up a guide at the visitors center, but even without it, you can often spot some wildlife here. Ducks, geese, and turtles hang out in the pond.

Access: There are entrances to the path on S 19th and on S Tyler. The park is located on the corner at 1919 S Tyler Street.
Conditions: Dirt paths with some wheelchair access
Difficulty: Easy

Spanaway Park

Three miles of trails wind through the woods around this park located in Spanaway. The trails are all dirt, but you can also stroll around the park on paved paths built mostly for car access as well. Views of the lake provide pleasant scenery. This park is also great for swimming, boating, fishing, and in the Christmas season, this is where you can catch Fantasy Lights.

Access: The park entrance is located off of 152nd Street just across from Sprinker Recreation Center. Trailheads are found all around the lake.
Conditions: Dirt paths and paved paths around the lake
Difficulty: Easy

Scott Pierson Trail

The Scott Pierson Trail ties into the Narrows Bridge trail (and originally consisted only of this portion), but extends farther. As of 2011, it begins in South Tacoma near Sprague and 25th. There are plans for it to connect with the Cushman Trail in Gig Harbor too. The trail is entirely paved, has some inclines but nothing too intense, and spans a total of five miles from start to finish. This trail is great for bikers and long-distance runners, and can be fun to explore for walkers as well. The scenery is not amazing and you will hear some traffic noise.

Access: The trail begins in a residential area with only street parking on 25th Street.

For parking options, park at the shopping and theater area at 23rd and Cedar. There is a walkway from the parking lot to the trail. You can also access the Narrows Bridge portion from War Memorial Park off of 6th Avenue.
Conditions: Paved
Difficulty: Easy

Bresemann Forest

This trail is located just across the street from the entrance to Spanaway Park and has a entrance off a parking lot, but once you cross into the forest, the trails are pristine and peaceful. You will pass a salmon bypass and may even see salmon there during parts of the spring.

Access: On the west side of the Sprinker Recreation Center parking lot, through an archway that read Bresemann Forest.
Conditions: Dirt Paths
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail

If you are close to or in Puyallup, this trail is one of your best bets. Found within South Hill Park, the Nathan Chapman Memorial Trail and South Hill Park Loop Trail both connect to each other and offer miles of paved trails to stroll.

Access: This trail is located within South Hill Park located at 86th Ave. East & 144th St. East.
Conditions: Paved
Difficulty: Easy

Other Trails

Other easy trails that require a bit of a drive from Tacoma, but are worth checking out include the Riverwalk Trail in Puyallup, and the Foothills Trail throughout Orting and Puyallup.