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Exploring Frank Herbert Trail and the Dune Peninsula

Metro Parks Tacoma’s newest park is a stunner

The Frank Herbert Trail leading out to Dune Peninsula. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Metro Parks Tacoma's newest park quietly opened this summer transforming the ASARCO Superfund site into a lovely park with waterfront views for miles. Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park is 11 acres situated on the breakwater peninsula which surrounds the Tacoma Yacht Club boat basin. The paved trail winding through the park was named Frank Herbert Trail after the famed author of Dune, a book inspired by the pollution caused by the ASARCO smelter. Also opened is the 50-foot-tall Wilson Way Bridge which connects Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way.

"The increasing pollution he saw all around him, in the city of his birth, contributed to his resolve that something had to be done to save the earth. This became, perhaps, the most important message of Dune," wrote Brian Herbert, in his biography of his father, Frank. It is such a wonderful experience to see what was once a toxic site converted into a place that everyone can now enjoy.

The new Wilson Way Bridge connects Point Defiance to Point Ruston. You can now bike or walk from Point Defiance all the way into downtown Tacoma along Ruston Way. The bridge has an overlook known as "The Moment," and it truly beckons to just take a moment to look at the incredible views. On a sunny day, you can see Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains in the distance, watch the ferry depart to Vashon Island, and take in all the yachts coming in and going out from the Tacoma Yacht Club. Enjoy the views of the beautiful Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Everywhere you look, the view is unforgettable.

As you cross the bridge from Point Defiance and then reach the other side, kids and adults will love the series of slides that take you down to the bottom. It's lots of fun, and a great way to get some energy out. The trails in either direction are beautifully landscaped with native plants.

Once you've finished exploring the new parks, head over to Point Ruston for some ice cream at Ice Cream Social which has developed a cult following for its insanely good, local, homemade, all natural ice cream made from locally sourced ingredients.

Wheel Fun Rentals at Point Ruston has a variety of bikes to rent. This is the place to go to rent Surreys, which look like small open air cars with a canopy that you can see moving up and down the waterfront trail. Kids love the choppers. Lime Scooters, also seen around Tacoma, can be rented by downloading the Lime ap. It will show you if one is located near you. These electric scooters are lots of fun, but for safety, plan to bring your own helmet.

The park opens a half hour before sunrise and closes a half hour after sunset. Parking is available near Point Ruston for easy access to the trails and parks. For more information go to

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