“A quick step out of urban surroundings & into a nature preserve - enjoy this wetland & forest trail.”
— Emily Roeben
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Spring · Wildlife
Nature Center (check site for hours), interpretive trail and adjacent Discovery Pond play area are perfect for before/after play time, and the trails are great for large-wheeled strollers.
Open daily from 8 am to 30 minutes after sunset. General admission is free for the preserve. Since this is an urban nature preserve, pets and bicycles are not allowed. No swimming.
Begin at the Tacoma Nature Center parking lot. This preserve offers well-marked trails with clear signage at every major intersection. There are multiple self-guided tours, with a booklet available in the visitor center (or on their website). This portion of the preserve is marked with numbers for the Self-guided Wetland Walk and History Walk, adding depth and history for those seeking additional connection while exploring the preserve.
Heading into the forest, you'll see interpretive signs, as well as numbers notating stops for the self-guided tour. The entire Second Bridge Loop Trail is flat and wide, perfect for large-wheeled strollers. The eastern portion of the trail from the Nature Center to the second bridge is listed by Tacoma Metro Parks as an Outdoor Access Route, suitable for wheelchairs.
After crossing the second bridge, the trail turns north along the wetlands of Snake Lake, touring through tall evergreens, returning past the First Bridge
, which can be a pleasant detour from either side of the trail looping around the lake.
Continuing north, the trail will lead back to the Nature Center and parking lot. If there are kids in your group, be sure to check out Discovery Pond, a small nature-themed playground across the parking lot, which also happens to be a perfect place for a picnic.
For more information visit the Tacoma Nature Center's website
Flora & Fauna
Dozens of mammals and even more bird species call this nature preserve home. The wetlands also provide habitat for many reptiles and amphibians, with visitors often seeing turtles in the water.
On the east side of the trail, there is an anthill very near the trail, but be careful as the ants bite.