Hike of the week: Chambers Creek Properties Trails

Hike description: The Chambers Creek Properties is a unique set of parcels totaling more than 930 acres which include a former 650-acre commercial gravel mine, two miles of Puget Sound shoreline, and a pristine three-mile-long forested ravine and creek, with opportunities for beach walking.

Two paved trails combine to form the main walking loop. Taken together the two trails give you a good workout with a cool-down period at whatever pace is comfortable for you.

The Soundview Trail, two miles with some grades in excess of 10 percent, winds from Cirque Plaza across the northern edge of the Chambers Creek Properties then descends through a portion of Chambers Bay Golf Course to the site of the future Central Meadow.

The map clearly shows the steep downhill section in the northwest corner of the trail.

This is the only wooded area of the trail; in among the steep downhill parts are some gentle uphill sections – it is not all knee-pounding downhill.

At the parking lot by the Central Meadow, you have a choice – you can take the patch through the meadow and cross the pedestrian overpass to wander on the beach or you can continue on your loop, leaving beach exploration for another time. The trail heads back uphill, in a big switchback, to meet with the flatter Grandview Trail.

The 1.25-mile-long Grandview Trail parallels Grandview Drive West from 64th Street Court West in the south to the junction with the Soundview Trail in the north.

The hilly section in the northwest corner of the trail is longer than the section in the south part of the loop.

Make the decision on whether to hike the loop in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction depending on whether you want more of an uphill or downhill workout through the steep sections.

Take time to enjoy the views: of the golf course, the Sound, and Ketron, Anderson and McNeil islands, Steilacoom to the south, ferries bound for Anderson Island, barges being shepherded along, trains rumbling beside the water below.

Benches are scattered around at various vista points for those who want to linger. And don’t forget to look at the concrete structures left over from the quarrying operation – stark, industrial artifacts with interesting shapes and shadows here and there around the golf course.

Options to extend your hike include trails in the North and Central Meadows, and around the Environmental Services Building at 64th Street Court West.

Directions: Grandview Drive West forms the eastern boundary of the properties.

Parking lots are accessed from the northeast corner, at 48th Street West, and from 62nd Street Court West in the southeast corner. From 62nd Street Court West, there is access to the parking lot by the Central Meadow. Parking also is available along Grandview and in the Environmental Services parking lot at 64th Street.

If you park on Grandview please resist the temptation to charge through the brush instead of finding one of the numerous paved or gravel trail access paths.

Difficulty rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)

Miles round-trip: 3.25

Elevation: 180 feet

Best time of year: Year-round

Map: Download

Pass: None required

Also: Printing out the map and tide tables and taking them with you is recommended to get the most out of your visit.

Restrooms and water fountains are by the North and Central meadows.

On a warm day, you should carry water. The distance between the water fountains might be more than you and your family (and pets) can enjoyably manage on a warm day.

Most of the trail is unshaded; sunscreen and a hat are recommended on a sunny day. Note that you are walking along the perimeter and sometimes through a golf course. Care has been taken in laying out the course and the trail to minimize the risk to hikers.

There is danger of encountering stray golf balls. Where you find signs indicating that you are in an area where golf balls could be lofted in your direction, don’t linger there for any photo ops.

Trails are used by pedestrians and bicycles and are wheelchair accessible. Horses and motorized vehicles are not allowed. An off-leash area is proposed by Central Meadow.

Information: For details on accessibility, construction and regulations: pierce

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee.