Ruston Way Path

Washington

Ruston Way Path Facts

States: Washington
Counties: Pierce
Length: 2.53 miles
Trail end points: Jack Hyde Park (Tacoma) and Ruston Way and N. 49th St. (Ruston)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6885355
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Walking

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Ruston Way Path Description

The delightful Ruston Way Path sits in the Old Town neighborhood of northern Tacoma. Its linear, flat and paved nature make it a cinch for all travelers and it offers lovely views of Commencement Bay, sandy beaches and majestic Mount Rainier.

The trail begins in Jack Hyde Park and continues northwest along its namesake roadway through a series of small waterfront parks, where you'll find great places to stop and enjoy the scenery or take part in more active pursuits, such as scuba diving, kayaking or fishing. If you need refreshments, several restaurants also line the path.

Not far from the Les Davis Pier (3427 Ruston Way), you'll come across the landlocked Fireboat No. 1. The boat, bright red and 96 feet in length, was built in 1929 and is designated a National Historic Landmark.

The pathway ends at the former American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) site, originally built in the late 1800s and closed in the 1980s. Since then, this EPA-designated Superfund site has been undergoing remediation with plans to make it a mixed-use community area.

If you're up for more biking, about a mile south of Jack Hyde Park you can pick up the Thea Foss Waterway Esplanade in Thea's Park. The paved trail winds along the waterfront and provides access to both the Museum of Glass and the beautiful Bridge of Glass.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at Jack Hyde Park (1743 N. Schuster Parkway), Hamilton Park (2321 Ruston Way) and Marine Park (3931 Ruston Way).

Ruston Way Path Reviews

This is one of my favorite places to run, but in nice weather it can be very busy and parking almost impossible. With the extension of the Ruston Water Walk the entire trail is about 3mi with three generally clean restrooms and two water fountains. Go early to avoid crowds.

While this trail used to end right there at N 49th and Ruston Way, they've extended it along the water around the back of what used to be the ASARCO smelter and into what they now call Point Ruston. From the old Path's end they've also widened this trail all the way to the new end which is right before the yacht club. There's construction going on of both condos and apartments between this trail and Ruston Way itself but the old tunnel is gone and the area doesn't look anything like it used to. But this is a popular attraction & location that gets full use especially in the nicer weather and on weekends. And parking anywhere along this entire waterfront can be...challenging at times. Pay particular attention to their No-Parking signs because they mean what they say. Otherwise, they've done a great job here and there's lots to see and do on Tacoma's waterfront these days...

For a little historical context, the smelter was served almost daily by the local BN switcher crew that used to deliver ore concentrates in gondolas and other well worn railroad cars on the line that used to run over on the parking strip across Ruston Way BELOW the main line (which is still there and is VERY active). There was a switch to access that line (off the main line) between the Alder Way overpass (just off Ruston Way) and the crossing at McCarver Street where this train ran a few blocks on this very rickety and crooked railed line to serve the smelter. Derailing cars and locos was a common occurrence and I'm sure that once this spur line had closed shortly before the entire smelter closed in the early 1980's nobody working for the railroad missed making deliveries here any longer, Im betting. So anyway, even though this Ruston Way Path was never a formal rails to trails project per se, that little spur line into the ASARCO smelter that was only right across the street less than 150 feet away, influenced things here locally in this neighborhood especially (if one knows where to look) in ways we're still seeing today.

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