The easiest way to plan a getaway, whether for an afternoon (or after-work) picnic or for a longer trip is to think about what you’d show a visitor to our part of the world. Tacoma has its share of museums, art galleries, and other indoor attractions. But we’re thinking about going somewhere outdoors, somewhere we can get away from crowds.
Point Defiance comes immediately to mind. The 760-acre park at 5400 N. Pearl St. has a variety of things to see and do. The zoo and aquarium are open, but you’ll have to make a reservation online so they can keep the visitor count at an acceptable level. You’ll need to pay by credit card. Anyone over five must wear a mask, and you can’t bring in your own food (unless you’re on a restricted diet), but do bring bottled water since the fountains are closed. Find more information about what’s available and what’s restricted here: https://www.pdza.org/visit/open/.
But that’s by no means all that Point Defiance has to offer. You can hike along the cliffs and enjoy the views of Vashon Island, Gig Harbor, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the Dalco Passage. If you sit quietly in the evening, you might hear the howls of red wolves. Spend a little time meditating in the Japanese Garden with the Pagoda (built in 1914). Other gardens include the Rose Garden, the Dahlia Garden, the Native Plant Garden, the Herb Garden, the Iris Garden (prime in the springtime), and the Fuchsia Garden. The old-growth forest features 450-year-old Douglas firs.
If you’re up for a ride, consider North Cascades National Park. Like other national parks, North Cascades National Park is open for camping (but not group camping) and hiking. Visitor centers are closed right now. You can get more information about what’s open and what’s not, as well as what to bring, here: https://www.nps.gov/noca/learn/news/north-cascades-national-park-service-complex-increases-recreational-access-to-more-areas.htm. Once there, you can pick a trail that suits your mood, your schedule, and your skill level. The Sterling Munro Trail and the Happy Creek Forest Trail are boardwalk paths. The River Loop Trail, Linking Trail, and Newhalem Creek Rockshelter Trail have gentle grades and good surfaces (and the Rockshelter Trail ends at a boardwalk from which you can see and learn about an archeological site. You’ll find short trails and long ones, gentle slopes and hikes that will make your muscles burn. But everywhere you look, you’ll see scenery that enlivens your spirit and rejoices your heart. Be sure to get advice here: https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/wilderness-trip-planner.htm if you’re planning a wilderness camping trip or hike or if you have other questions.
At the Park (or any wilderness area) stay on the trails. Leave the vegetation—even those beautiful flowers—in their natural state. You can pick a liter of edible fruits and berries for human consumption each day. If you camp or picnic, stay on the cleared areas, not where plants are growing. Be sure you take out everything your bring in.Let us know on the Eagle Leather Facebook page how you are recreating this summer. If you’ve enjoyed a destination or the trip itself, it’s likely that other motorcycle enthusiasts will also enjoy it.