A visit to Pierce County guarantees delicious food, a steaming cup of crafted espresso, and glorious mountain views. But what may be most special about this little Pacific Northwest slice of paradise are the seemingly boundless opportunities to convene with the great outdoors (and perhaps spot a few vampires from Twilight along the way!). And, what better way to spend time soaking it all in than exploring the South Sound by way of bike? Say sayonara to your hiking boots and hello to a comfy seat and two wheels set to take you and your family on the ride of your life—or, at least a memorable afternoon. 

But, with so many amazing neighborhoods to explore in Pierce County, the obstacle of choice may feel a little daunting prior to piling onto your two-wheeler. That’s where we come in! We’ve compiled a list of top-recommended biking paths organized by region, paved for all fitness levels, and guaranteed to feature plenty of South Sound scenery.


bicycle trees forest



Before setting out on your set of wheels, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure a safe trip:

  1. Remember to obey all traffic laws.
    Biking does not exempt you from the rules of the road - be sure to continue abiding by traffic laws including signage, street markings, and signals (car and fellow biker alike).

  2. Use hand signals.
    Speaking of signals, bikes often lack that fancy flicker to make your next move clear to onlookers. Here’s the basics: Stick your left arm out straight to signal a left turn. Make a right angle with your elbow to signal a right turn. Place your hand down towards the ground while maintaining the right angle to signal a stop. 

  3. Dress to protect.
    Wind, rain, obstacles, oh my! Be sure to dress in weather-appropriate gear and always don a helmet to protect that noggin for another day of Pierce County exploration.

Bicycling in Point Defiance Park

Trails in Tacoma

Tacoma isn’t just for world-class food and entertainment - it also features some stunning biking and hiking trails to enjoy on your next visit. Best enjoyed as the rain begins to let up in spring and summer, we recommend a two-wheel ride on the Ruston Way Trail - a stunning paved path to get up close and personal with Commencement Bay and Old Tacoma. We also recommend Tacoma's well-known Five Mile Drive for paved loops to bike along the Point Defiance Park peninsula. In the fall, we recommend exploring the city along the Pipeline Trail which connects travelers to major transit, neighborhoods, and other parks along a 4.3-mile path. Or instead, adventure off-road with Tacoma’s first trail system for mountain bikes at Swan Creek Park.


puyallup bicycle view

Trails in Puyallup

Farm-to-table food and fabulous nature views are par for the course in Puyallup. On your next visit to the region, we recommend riding along the Riverwalk Trail to enjoy fall colors or in the summer to soak in the sights and sounds of the river. Perfect rain or shine, the Bradley Lake Park paved loop trail is a must-stop for families with a playground and picnic tables to visit after your outdoor adventure.

bicycle trail running trail

Trails in University Place

University Place is a coastal city full of Pacific Northwest natural beauty. If endless greenery and water views are your jam, the Chambers Bay biking and hiking paved trails are sure to impress come spring or summer as the drizzle takes a back seat. For an even closer look at the sound, take your family down to the Soundview Loop in Chambers Creek Park. After your adventure, stop at the Chambers Bay Grill for a bite to eat and view to boot!

bicycle path stroller gig harbor

Trails in Gig Harbor

For a day spent biking by the water, you’ll find it hard to beat a visit to Gig Harbor. Take your family on a ride along Cushman Trail for stunning fall colors and 6.2 miles of mixed gardens (also has 5 restrooms along the way for kids, you’re welcome). For a more urban experience and bridge waterway views, bike the Scott Pierson Trail along Highway 16, named after a fellow bicycle enthusiast! And, after your excursion, you can stop by Tide’s Tavern, one of Gig Harbor’s longest-serving restaurants, for a post-biking bite.

sumner link trail

Trails in Sumner

Sumner becomes a hot tourist destination come spring with its old-fashioned friendliness and famous rhubarb pie, which makes it a perfect seasonal place to pick for your next bike ride. A great trail to explore is the Sumner Link Trail with eight miles of paved paths along the White River. Year-round, this well-manicured path shines with opportunities to rest at picnic tables, public restroom access, and plenty of surrounding wildlife to enjoy.

bicycle trail lakewood

Trails in Lakewood

Some of the most gorgeous gardens of the Pacific Northwest are nestled in the city of Lakewood, so we couldn’t miss adding a biking trail recommendation for this terrific town to the list. Fort Steilacoom Park offers 340 acres of nature to enjoy, complete with an off-leash dog park, year-round bathrooms, and picnic shelters. But most importantly, it offers a one-mile paved path around Waughop Lake Loop for summer fun with the whole family.

Bonus Tip:

For even more recommendations, check out the official Pierce County 2023 Bike Map, which focuses on the on-road bikeways such as roads with wide lanes and paved shared-use trails for additional exploration.

Did we miss any fabulous family biking paths? Two-wheeler trekkers sound off! Tag us @traveltacoma on Instagram and Facebook.