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Hiking, Biking, and Hitting the Links

Gig Harbor an abundant area for leisure

By Colin Anderson

The beauty of Gig Harbor is best seen from the water, and using your feet or pedal power is the most active option to enjoy breathtaking views. Gig Harbor is known for well-maintained trails, like the city’s Cushman Trail, linking downtown to the Narrows Bridge, traversing through some of the most interesting and beautiful stretches of the city. If golf is your thing, be sure to check out some of the fantastic and varied local courses.

Cushman Trail is the most popular in Gig Harbor. Continually expanded as a city park initiative in partnership with PenMet Parks over the last 10 years, it now encompasses over 6 miles of paved pathway. The trail is 16 feet wide and accommodates bikers as well as leisurely foot traffic. The majority of the trail is ADA compliant, but challenging portions also feature a 10 percent grade.

Beginning at the trail’s southern end, located at 14th Street, you will soon find beautiful shrubbery and wetlands where birds chirp and the occasional deer crosses your path. This is also the flattest portion of the trail.

The Grandview Trailhead is roughly the midpoint of the trail and a great place to hop on from downtown. Heading north from here, trail hikers encounter more hills with steeper grades in this segment. There are restrooms and drinking fountains at several locations.

Recent construction also connects the Cushman Trail with Tacoma‘s Scott Pierson Trail, which adds a scenic trip over the new span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. (There is no toll for crossing the bridge by bike.) From the bridge, take in dramatic panoramic views of Point Defiance and Vashon Island. Keep an eye on the sky and the sea for wildlife as well. Dogs are permitted on the trail but must be cleaned up after and on leash. Cyclists looking for more of a challenge can tackle extensive mountain biking trails at 360 Trails Park, west of Purdy, and Banner Forest, north of Olalla.

With nearly 40 parks, the Gig Harbor area has plenty of places to roam. Sehmel Homestead Park and McCormick Forest Park are a couple of local favorites.

Mild year-round temperatures make Gig Harbor a great place for golfers of various levels. A destination course since the late 1970s, Madrona Links prides itself on being a course for all levels. At the end of your round, enjoy a bite or beverage on premise at Hacker’s.

To get in a quick nine holes, consider a trip to the Gig Harbor Golf Club, now in its 60th year in operation. The course is regulation length, and many of the tee boxes include spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. A driving range and adult and youth instruction is available as well.

The full country club experience can be found at Canterwood Golf & Country Club. An 18-hole championship course is flanked by tennis courts, swimming pool and delicious dining options. Golf Digest has rated the course in the Top 10 in all of Washington state.

Whether it is a leisurely game of golf, scenic peddling, strolling on a paved trail or an exhilarating hike, you will be impressed by Gig Harbor’s parks, trails and other great recreational outlets.

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