Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

March 14, 2013 at 8:10am

Outdoor Addict: Stun cranky Seattle-ites at Chambers Bay

CHAMBER BAY: Take time to absorb the beauty. Photo credit: Whitney Rhodes

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Y'all I have got to rant about something for a minute. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, and yet all I hear about from my friends who don't live here is how awful the rain must be. How could anyone live in a place that gets rain 485 days per year? And don't get me started on the Seattle-ite bias toward Tacoma. I love Seattle. I love my friends who live there and I love spending the day there. But good lord, getting them to come down here to visit or even say something nice about it is challenging. So, whenever I do get someone to co me visit me I do my best to leave them speechless. I could go on and on about a whole itinerary, but for the outdoors addicts among us, I'll stick to how I wow them. On a nice day, I take them to Chambers Bay.

Officially known as the Chambers Creek Properties, Chambers Creek Regional Park - or the more popular name Chambers Bay - is comprised of more than 950 acres located along the shores of the Puget Sound, in University Place. It includes a world-renowned golf course (Chambers Bay Golf Course, thus the commonly used name), enormous central meadow, miles of paved trails, beach access, and off leash dog area, playground, soccer fields and some of the most stunning views in Pierce County. Everyone I've ever taken there on a sunny day has the same reaction, "holy cow!" It's a stunner ladies and gentlemen. And in my experience shuts up even the biggest critics.

Over the last 200 years, the entire Chambers Creek Properties area has been used as a location for a paper mill, a proposed match company, a major industrial center, multiple lumber companies, a railroad center and a gravel mine. The gravel mine left the largest imprint with the hillside having been carved away, and large concrete structures left dotting the landscape. Pierce County purchased the property to house its wastewater treatment plant. Yes, on the part of the property not open to the public there is a sewage treatment plant. But the beauty of their plan was that the plant only takes up a fraction of the property. The rest is for the public to enjoy.

If you are a golfer, I will warn you the green fees are a little steep, and no golf carts allowed, but the Scottish style links course is one people dream of playing. The 2015 US Open will be played on it. And it's in your backyard! For the rest of us non-golfers, I could write several weeks worth of columns for all there is to do. I promise to revisit it. But for now just the highlights:

  • A large off leash dog area - let the puppies run!
  • Miles of trails. Just the loop around the golf course is approximately 3 miles.
  • The Central Meadow. A seemingly permanent kite flying breeze, perfect Frisbee tossing grass, picnicking possibilities, and really I could go on. Anything you would want to do on a wide-open expanse of grass.
  • Beach access. Terrific beach for finding treasures, tossing rocks in the water and watching the sunset.

The breath taking view of Puget Sound, Fox Island and the Olympic Mountains is my favorite part. Inevitably, after taking an out of town guest there they say, "Now I get it." And even the most critical Seattle-ite has admitted there is something nice about Tacoma/Pierce County. So really folks, go fall in love with your hometown a little more.


Take Exit 130 off of Interstate 5 to South 56th Street West.  Take the Tacoma Mall Boulevard ramp toward South 56th Street West. Turn Left on Tacoma Mall Boulevard. Then right onto 56th. Stay on 56th for approx. 3 miles when 56th becomes Cirque Drive West. Get out of your car and stretch. Get back in your car and continue on Cirque Drive West to Grandview Drive West. Turn Left at Grandview Drive West. Pass through one roundabout. Chambers Bay will be on the right.

LINK: The Foothills Trail

LINK: Owen Beach

LINK: Scenic Beach State Park

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