Foot bridge over Swan Creek
1. Swan Creek Park, Tacoma
A hidden slice of nature within a few miles of city hustle and bustle, Swan Creek Park is full of alder and cedar trees, plus vine and big leaf maples that change to vibrant shades of red, gold and orange in the fall. Children will love exploring the creek and crossing the bridge spanning it. My kids played in the water even during a fall thunderstorm.
Find it: East Roosevelt Avenue and East 42nd Street, Tacoma. From I-5, exit toward Puyallup on Highway 167, then bear right onto Pioneer Way. The trailhead will be on your right.
Length: The trail from the Pioneer entrance to the southern trailhead is just over 2 miles, one way. We often just wander from the entrance to the creek, which is under half a mile. It does get wet and muddy, so wear boots.
Photo ops: Snap action shots of water play or the kids walking across the rustic bridge.