Last weekend the Kid and I did a ride we’ve been wanting to do for a while: crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and continuing on to the Cushman trail through Gig Harbor. Starting at the the War Memorial Park in Tacoma, WA, we road over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, an iconic circa 1940 Puget Sound area structure that crosses the Tacoma Narrows straight between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula.
Crossing the bridge by bike in and of itself is a wonderful experience. The bridge offers one-of-a-kind views of the Puget Sound that can’t be experienced in a car at 60 mph. On bike or foot you can stop and soak in the imagery or just let the wind rush through your hair with the sweeping panorama in the background.
The bridge has it’s own two-way bike/pedestrian path, and crossing it is about two miles each way. We wanted to continue on to the Cushman trail which begins about a mile farther north after crossing the bridge. The total distance from War Memorial Park to the end of the Cushman trail is nearly 10 miles. The route looked like this:
To get to the Cushman trail, you simply cross the first overpass after crossing the bridge and head north on 14th Ave. NW for about a mile to where the Cushman trail starts. The trail is very wide and has great surface conditions. It winds through mostly wooded surroundings and has some ups and downs along the way, but all of the climbs are relatively short.
About two miles down the trail, you cut back through the streets for a couple of blocks on Olympic Drive NW. You’re back on the trail in no time, which continues for another half-mile until you are back on the streets again. This is a perfect time to stop by and say hi to the folks at Old Town Bicycle (www.oldtownbicycle.com). Old Town is a great shop that offers everything you would want and has a friendly and knowledgeable staff. They even offered to fill our water bottles and let us use their bathroom before setting back out on the ride.
From there, you weave through town for a few more blocks and then are back on the trail again. This portion of the trail is mostly an elevated path above reed-filled marshland below. There are also a couple of climbs through this portion of the trail at 8-10% grade, however, they are relatively short climbs. The scenery is very green, natural, and enjoyable and there are built in stopping points with benches all along the way.
The trail ends at Borgen Blvd. where there is a large business park. We decided to duck into the Costco there for a quick lunch before heading back. Much to our surprise, there was no bike parking on the premises, so we improvised with one of their shopping cart corrals.
The Tacoma Narrows bridge and Cushman trail are very fun and scenic rides that can be done independently, but work very well as a continuous route. I highly recommend you put this ride high on your list if you haven’t experienced it yet.
Please share your comments below along with any other bridge crossing stories or recommendations.