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Local fall walks

Get out and enjoy the colors

Wright Park in Tacoma’s Stadium District is quite lovely in the fall. Photo credit: Kim Thompson

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Who says you have to travel to the northeastern United States to see the turning of the autumn leaves?

The South Puget Sound region has its own riot of fall color right here. There are some terrific urban and regional walks that depict nature's colorful glory in the autumn months. So break out the fleece jackets, hats, and a great pair of walking shoes or boots and get ready to enjoy the splendor of the season. Here are some ideas to get you started. (Pssst ... don't forget the camera)!

Wright Park (Downtown Tacoma): The most coveted historic urban park in Tacoma, this place is a 27-acre arboretum that boasts a total of 616 trees and 138 tree varieties. Many of these trees are deciduous and the colors are truly breathtaking. Meander along the wide, gentle paths that loop around the park and take in the color. The park's website even features a tree map to check out online before you go. Enjoy water features, outdoor sculpture and the free indoor conservatory with gorgeous plantings to view. For families, enjoy the modern playground with the kiddos after their leafy adventures.  501 S. I Street, Tacoma,

Point Defiance Park (North Tacoma): Tacoma's glorious Point Defiance Park sits on 765 acres of pure natural beauty. Gentle and wide pathways weave through miles of old-growth forest in the park's spectacular Five Mile Drive. Go on foot to see low lying colorful deciduous trees mingling amongst the vegetation (near the rhododendron gardens is a great spot). Or continue by car through Five Mile Drive to see the leafy magic and take in gorgeous viewpoints of the sea and mountains. The park has many other terrific features to take advantage of (gardens, zoo and aquarium, beach, playground and more) when you visit. 5400 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma,

Swan Creek Park (East Tacoma): This 290 acre natural area sits in East Tacoma has upland forest and wooded canyons. Old vine maples and big leaf maples punctuate the majestic alder and cedar trees. Nature lovers have enjoyed hiking in this terrific area; however, here's a fun fact. This park is now a mecca for mountain bike riders with its dynamic set of trails. Roosevelt & E. 42nd Street, Tacoma,

The Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (Olympia): This amazing refuge is home to the riparian forest; according to the refuge website, there are rare, naturally-occurring, deciduous riparian forests found within the refuge. In the fall season, there are many birds that call the refuge home and add an extra layer of interest and photo opportunities. There is a $3.00 fee to use the refuge for adults. 100 Brown Farm Road NE, Olympia,

Mount Rainier (various locations): Majestic Mt. Rainier, while a little bit more of a drive and takes a little bit more planning, really is in our backyard in the South Puget Sound region. What most may not realize is that during the fall (especially October and November), the mountain forests come alive with a positively magnificent display of fall colors.

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