Hike of the week: Ruston Way

Hike description: When the winter blahs are getting you down but you don’t have time to drive up into the mountains, or you just don’t care to end up in the snow, head down to Tacoma’s waterfront treasure. Ruston Way offers a two-mile stretch of sidewalk with opportunities to walk, skate, bike, fish, jog, scuba dive and kayak. And, you can pull up to any of the many benches and sit and watch the parade of these activities go by.

Starting at the east end you can sample Jack Hyde Park, Old Town Dock, Hamilton Park, Dickman Mill Site, Les Davis Pier, Marine Park and Cummings Park. The view of the busy Commencement Bay is always a pleasure. When you turn around and head back, Mount Rainier can often be seen looming on the horizon, over the port. The last jewel of the Ruston Way parks, the Chinese Reconciliation Park, is scheduled for completion in 2010. At the east end of Ruston Way, this park will provide more opportunities for walking and reflection beside the water along with access to the water.

Directions: The park is linear along Ruston Way, along the waterfront in Old Town Tacoma. Start your walk at any of the long-term public parking lots. You can get to Ruston Way from Interstate 705; from McCarver Street, by heading east on North 36th Street from North Proctor Street; or by heading east on North 51st Street from North Pearl Street. Ruston Way can be reached by Pierce Transit Bus 13, which runs along North 30th Street.

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

Miles round-trip: 5

Elevation: Minimal

Best time of year: Year-round

Map: None needed

Pass: None needed

Also: For an enjoyable walk, be sure to carry appropriate clothing and adequate water and snacks, particularly if short-legged, small people are along. As with all public parks, take along a bag to pick up stray trash that you find on the trail so you can leave it cleaner than you found it, to the delight of all.

Information: www. metroparkstacoma.org/page. php?id=19

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.theolympian.com/hiking.