Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park

This 760-acre park located next door to Franke Tobey Jones is a popular destination for more than 3.1 million people each year. Natural forest, saltwater beaches and spectacular views offer numerous possibilities for recreation, education and communing with nature.

Major attractions at the park:

  • Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
  • Pagoda
  • Picnic shelters
  • Zoo & Aquarium
  • Five Mile Drive
  • Boathouse Marina
  • Gardens
    • Japanese Garden: Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese cherry trees, crabapples and large and small pines flourish in the Japanese garden. An oriental footbridge, waterfall, Japanese lanterns and a small “tea house” further enhance the grounds.
    • Dahlia Trial Garden: One of the largest official trial gardens in the U.S. and Canada, the Dahlia Trial Garden is maintained in cooperation with the Washington Dahlia Society. Blooms begin in July, but August is the best time to view the garden in full bloom, when plants reach heights higher than 6 feet.
    • Fuchsia Garden: Hummingbirds and visitors alike will want to flock to this colorful garden between June and October when the blooms are out in profusion. The Fuchsia Garden contains 125 different varieties of upright fuchsias.
    • Herb Garden: the Herb Garden has two beds containing more than 150 perennial plants that thrive in the Puget Sound area. The area provides a surge of growth and color in the spring and summer and provides a place to learn how to grow, use and display herbs.
    • Iris Garden: Contains 101 tall bearded iris, 80 Pacific Coast iris hybrids and 26 iris tectorum, all in assorted colors.
    • Northwest Native Garden: This garden displays and celebrates the native flora of the Pacific Northwest. Paths winding through the one-and-one-half-acre garden pass a lovely waterfall, pond and striking wooden gazebo.
    • Rhododendron Garden: This nearly five-acre garden is nestled in a stand of old growth forest and contains more than 500 plants, including 198 cultivated varieties and 75 species of rhododendrons.
    • Rose Garden: From June through September more than 1,500 rose bushes provide a rainbow of colors including many variegated combinations. 
  • Trails at the park:

All trails are foot traffic only. There are no trails in Point Defiance Park designated for bicycles.

  • Spine Trail – 1.3 miles one way / 2.6 miles round trip
    Rhododendron Garden to Gig Harbor Viewpoint
  • Square Trail – 4.6 miles Outer Loop
  • Triangle Trail – 3.3 miles Inner Loop
  • Rhododendron Garden Loop – .52 miles
    Shelter is 215 ft. from the road
  • Promenade
    – Owen Beach to Marina – .79 miles one way
    – Bath House to west access to Beach – .25 miles one way
  • Owens Beach Park

Views of Vashon Island, ferry boats and fishing craft make Owen Beach one of Point Defiance Park’s most popular destinations. Owen Beach offers waterfront picnic shelters with grills, tables, a restroom and ample free parking.