Did you know there is a Hidden Beach right by Tacoma’s Titlow Park? No, I don’t mean the beach right by Steamers, though that’s a great spot, especially for tide pooling! I’m talking about an extra slice at the end of that one that you can access through a charming, woodsy walk.
It’s actually called Hidden Beach, and the trail is the Hidden Beach Trail, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t stumbled on it before!
There are three ways to get there.
Option One: Park on Hidden Beach Road in front of the white posts. It’s on your right hand side off 6th before you get to the parking lot for Titlow. The blue sign says, “Private Road,” but that just means it isn’t maintained by the city. You will be out of sight of the car almost immediately, and I saw some broken glass, so do secure your valuables out of view. Park there and take the unpaved road right in front of you. You’ll see a Metro Parks sign. This is a wide, easy road that quickly comes to a bridge over railroad tracks. If you want, hang out until a train passes underneath and feel the vibrations as it rumbles beneath you. Just over the bridge is a private club. Stay on the path (It’s still park’s property, I promise), and you’ll quickly come to the woods. You can follow any number of paths through the woods or down to the beach. There are high bluffs, so be mindful of the kiddos, and take one of the sets of actual steps to the beach.
Option Two: Just behind the sprayground in front of the lagoon that is to your right if you’re facing the water, there is a trail. If you take this, it will connect you to the trail above (I haven’t tried this route, but this is the scoop I got from Metro Parks).
Option Three: Park at the playground for Titlow Park (don’t accidentally park in a Steamers spot), cross the train tracks carefully, and take the sidewalk all the way down. If you’re facing the water, go right. There is a pinkish house in the woods at the end of the sidewalk commonly called Kay’s house. Take the trail up past this house and into the woods. From here, you’ll see several paths you can follow, and you’ll fairly quickly come across one of two sets of steps to the beach.
A fourth option, if the tide is low enough, is to go down to the beach right in front of the signage/picnic tables, and just keep walking it around the corner.
Why bother? Well, as you can see, you’ll be treated to beautiful, shaded trails, and forested paths to the water that look like something out of The Secret Garden (Yes, I’ve probably read it one too many times)! If you go in the day, you’ll also likely have the beach-the only Metro Parks property with western exposure-to yourself! The boys and I felt like we’d found our own treasure, and they would totally have spent the day playing if I hadn’t forgotten the sunscreen. Oops!
Now, I will tell you we came back here in the evening, and the vibe was really different. In my husband’s words: Creepy. There were a couple of odd looking guys walking around, and there were groups of teenagers arriving to party (Oh, youth)! Melissa with Metro Parks told me they haven’t had many problems with crime since they took down the old Scout buildings that had decayed and become nuisances, but there are pretty frequent bonfires and kids looking for romance. Henry busted up the one couple we saw pretty effectively. Kids-the best birth control-amiright?
There are also long term plans for more development in this area-including some kind of educational building where Kay’s house is now.
So, pack up a bag and grab a friend and go in the day when the vibe is charming and the crowd is small. I think you’ll be glad you found it, too! If you’ve been here before, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Know another spot we should discover? Leave a comment and let us know about it!