South Tacoma’s Water Flume Line Trail
HIKE DESCRIPTION: Stretching between South Park and the future site of Oak Tree Park, South Tacoma’s Water Flume Line Trail offers the things that multiuse trail fans love.
It gives walkers and cyclists safe passage for commutes. It might be short (2.5 miles one way), but it can be linked to nearby trails for a longer trip. And, perhaps best of all, it’s still growing.
The trail currently runs from near 80th Street Court Southwest and South Tacoma Way to the intersection of South 47th Street and South Tacoma Way.
Phase 4 of trail construction started May 9, said project manager Diane Sheesley. The $2.9 million project is scheduled to be finished in December. This new section will run along South Tacoma Way between South M and South C streets. While this new 0.8-mile section will be separated from the current stretch by 2.4 miles, users can cover much of the gap with existing bike lanes.
Those bike lanes already help Water Flume Line Trail users access the Scott Pierson Trail if they choose. Linking the trail still requires less than a mile of biking on city streets, but once on the Pierson Trail, users can travel over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. There another short section on the road (0.7 miles) deposits users on the Cushman Trail for a rolling 6.2-mile trip to the north side of Gig Harbor.
It’s about 17 miles each way if you link all three trails.
A shorter and easier option for extending trip on the Water Flume Trail is the unpaved trails in the Oak Tree Park green space.
DIRECTIONS: Find parking at South Park near the intersection of South Tacoma Way and South 50th Street. From Interstate 5, take state Route 16 and then exit on Union Avenue. Turn left on Union. Exit Union to South Tacoma, then turn right and continue to South Park.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 1 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 5.
ELEVATION GAIN: Minimal.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: Year-round.
MAP: Download the Tacoma bikeways and trails map at wspdsmap.ci.tacoma.wa.us/samples/MoMap.pdf.
ALSO: A 0.5-mile section between South 76th Street and South Tacoma Way was completed last year. A Tacoma Water well at Oak Tree Park offers chlorinated, unfluoridated water from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. The project cost $2.3 million. Another phase of work is planned as the trail pushes toward the Tacoma Dome. Dogs on leashes are permitted on the trail. Benches, lighting and bike racks are available on the trail. Trail intersections are well marked. Dogs on leashes are permitted on the trail. Several geocaches are hidden along the trail. For more information, visit geocaching.com.