Chambers Creek Canyon and Kobayashi Park
HIKE DESCRIPTION: A lush green ravine cutting between Lakewood and University Place offers an easily accessible getaway.
Trail advocates have long dreamed of a trail running through the ravine for about 2.5 miles between Chambers Creek Road and Kobayashi Park near Bridgeport Way. Last year, Pierce County, Lakewood and University Place agreed to cooperate in building the trail.
It’s unknown when the trail will be complete, but there are two options for walking the area while we wait. A 0.9-mile section of trail climbs gradually from Chambers Creek Road and concludes anticlimactically in a Lakewood neighborhood. Runners can sometimes be found notching repeats on this trail using the somewhat steep finishing hill to build endurance.
A short spur trail near the trailhead takes hikers to the creek reservoir, an area that can be popular with skimboarders on warm days.
This part of the canyon is well-known among locals who’ve been hiking here since the nearby golf course was a gravel pit. The Kobayashi Park trails at the other end of the ravine are more of a hidden gem.
The small University Place park at the confluence of Leach and Chambers creeks gives access to several short sections of trail. It’s easy enough to cover about a mile here walking along the creeks and climbing up the edge of the ravine. The trails weren’t in particularly good shape March 10, with downed trees creating obstacles in some areas.
DIRECTIONS TO CHAMBERS CREEK CANYON: Follow Chambers Creek Road northeast from Steilacoom or southwest from University Place. Find the trailhead south of the Chambers Creek bridge.
DIRECTIONS TO KOBAYASHI PARK: From the intersection of Bridgeport Way and 67th Avenue in University Place, turn south on 67th then immediately turn left on Chambers Creek Road then turn right into the park. A small parking lot and covered picnic is at the bottom of the hill.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 3 (combining both sections).
ELEVATION GAIN: 550 feet (combining both sections).
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
ALSO: The covered picnic area at Kobayashi Park is a converted home that the namesake family offered to the city when they moved to Japan in 2000. Salmon live in Chambers and Leach creeks, and in 2002 the Cascade Land Conservancy purchased the home for $500,000. Dogs are permitted on the trails if they are on leashes and owners clean up after them. Geocaches are hidden on both sections of trails. The Chambers Creek Canyon Trail can be linked to other Chambers Creek Properties trails.
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