Where to Find Easy Hikes and Trails in Tacoma

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

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. Tacoma has many parks and green spaces suitable for all hiking abilities. While there are hikes in and near Tacoma that offer some moderate inclines and a hearty workout, almost all of the hikes located in town involve little or no incline and paved, gravel, or dirt paths rather than rugged terrain.

The trails below are all easy for just about anyone—the paths are paved, the inclines are extremely moderate or nonexistent. Better yet? The scenic factor is off the charts as these trails and paths take you past some of Tacoma's prettiest areas to boot!

Create Your Own Downtown T-Town Walking Tour

If you haven’t thoroughly checked out the downtown area (or even if you have), downtown Tacoma is a great place to walk. Hop between the museums along Pacific and cross the Museum of Glass if you want to keep your walk on level ground. This area also has several restaurants so you can start or finish your walk with lunch or dinner. Alternately, if you feel like a bit of incline, you can start climbing the hills leading up from Pacific, or explore the Theater District around 9th and Broadway.

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

Explore the Ruston Way Waterfront

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. You can enjoy a paved pathway right along the water's edge from Old Town all the way up to Point Ruston, which is a stretch of about three miles. 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. You can also park at Point Ruston (paid parking).
Conditions: Paved
Difficulty: Easy

Hike through 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, the trails are 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

Stroll around 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. It begins in South Tacoma near Sprague and 25th and extends to 24th St. NW and SR 16 in Gig Harbor. 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 center 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.