Although an estimated 3.1 million visitors come to Point Defiance Park annually, relatively few meander the trails in the park’s nearly 400 acres of old-growth forest. Here, away from the domesticated southern end of the park, animals and critters such as mule deer, red foxes, pileated woodpeckers, bald eagles, and Douglas squirrels are common.
The best way to explore this northern end of the park is to venture out on the nearly level, 4.3-mile Outside Loop Trail that winds through deep forest habitat and high bluff outcroppings where panoramic views of the Puget Sound open up.
As you hike, don’t miss the park’s legendary "Mountain Tree,” an old-growth Douglas fir. At 450 years old, 200 feet tall, and 7.5 feet in diameter, this magnificent tree is a truly unique specimen for a major metropolitan area. And be sure to bring provisions for a break, as the trail passes three major picnic areas.