Fitness meets scenic beauty in local parks: Hiking, biking, diving available nearby

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Carrie Bernard
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: The following is the first in a series of articles highlighting Washington's great outdoors. Articles in the Northwest Airlifter featuring information on state parks do not imply Air Force endorsement.

Whether you're looking for outdoor adventure or a quiet retreat from the world, you'll find it in one of Washington's many state parks. 

With more than 100 parks located throughout the state, choosing one may be harder than finding one. 

Our first stop finds us at a park that can be noisy at times, but is always dedicated to keeping the peace. 

Saltwater State Park is an 88-acre marine camping park with 1,445 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound. The park dedication in 1926 included a peace effort to stop the bad feelings between the cities of Tacoma and Seattle. The park is located halfway between the two cities, and a hatchet is symbolically buried under a rock somewhere in the park. 

The cities jointly and literally buried the hatchet as a symbol of an end to their mutual competition. 

Although Saltwater State Park can be noisy, as it is located in the flight path of a major airport, it offers three trails for hiking and biking, as well as many wildlife-watching opportunities. The park also has an underwater, artificial reef on Puget Sound and is often used for scuba diving and fishing. Finally, the park provides two kitchen shelters without electricity, plus 147 unsheltered picnic tables. Most picnic sites are near the beach or along McSorley Creek. 

The park is open year-round for day use from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. The campground closes Oct. 4 and reopens April 22.
Saltwater State Park is located two miles south of Des Moines, Wash., near Sea-Tac International Airport. 

From the south:
Take exit 147 off I-5. Follow signs west, and turn right on 16th St. past the Safeway store (sign missing). Then follow signs to park. Turn on Marine View Dr., which runs through the park. Turn left into the park. 

From the north:
Take exit 149 off of I-5, go west, then turn south on Hwy. 99 (sign missing). Follow the signs into the park. Turn right on 240th at the Midway Drive-in. Turn left on Marine View Dr. and turn right into the park.
For more information, call the park office at (253) 661-4956 or visit 

(Information courtesy of