Have you tried the new Sumner Link Trail yet? I’m always excited when new trails and parks open, so I dragged the boys off their various screens and do-dads for some exploration.
We tried just one section, and honestly, I think the bit we picked was probably the shortest and least scenic. The kids were not impressed, and I wasn’t rushing right home to tell you about it, either. Don’t quit reading, though, because I do think it’s worth knowing about, especially for those of you with new bike riders.
It was all newly paved, with nice, smooth asphalt, and it’s flat, mostly shaded, and totally uncrowded. In other words, a great choice for someone new to two wheeling!
Parking for this section is at the recycling center/wastewater treatment plant. Yes, really. You’ll see an arrow pointing to it. You can go here for directions. Right now, there is construction going on at the plant, which I think accounts for the somewhat crowded parking area. There are some other options explained here.
After you park, go left towards Puyallup and the river if you want to do this section (You could also go right, which I think will take you into Sumner and ultimately up to Lakeland Hills) . The first bit going towards Puyallup goes by the wastewater treatment plant. Yes, there is a bit of a smell, and yes, it looks like a prison.
There are some picnic tables just past the start of your walk and a spot where you can look at the river. This would be a nice spot for a quiet picnic. There was graffiti on the tables already (Boo!) but it was clean otherwise.
Continue following the path as it curves to the left. This is a nice, smooth section, and it was in the shade. Doesn’t this look perfect for someone just graduating from training wheels? We saw just one other group the whole time.
There are a few places where trails lead down to the river. You could let your kids throw rocks in or watch fishermen, but don’t get too close. It’s a fast, cold river year round, and I just think most of our rivers are not a good mix with kids.
This bit of the trail ends at the bridge. If you want, you can CAREFULLY walk on the sidewalk across it to the parking lot behind Mama Stortini’s, where you’ll find an entrance to the River Walk Trail, another great place for beginning bikers or those of you pushing strollers. This would be a great add-on if you need a longer route.
Otherwise, you could double back the way you came, stopping at the picnic tables for some lunch. The distance should be just right for young children.
Of course, you could also do the rest of the Sumner Link Trail by going to the right from the recycling center or parking at one of the other trail access points. It’s an eight mile trail in total, going all the way to Lakeland in Auburn. We haven’t done that part yet, but looking at pics online, it looks like you’ll get to go by some fields and over some bridges, which are always fun for kids. I’ll update you if we do this part, but if you’ve done other sections of this trail already, I’d love for you to leave a comment! You can read more about the trail here. It sounds like some interpretive signs are in the works, which would be great additions.
Update: Reader Amy left a note on our Facebook page confirming that the other section has fun bridges and great views. We’re looking forward to trying it for ourselves!