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5 South Sound trails to add to your hiking to-do list

Mt. Rainier and two other easily accessible hikes with great trails for all levels. #k5evening

Everyone can agree that Mount Rainier is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Washington. But at 14,500 feet, it's also the most extreme hike in the South Sound.

"I'm not going to lie, it was a workout," said "Evening's" Extreme Jose.

During the spring and summer months, wildflowers are in abundance in the national park. For beginner hikers, this is the perfect opportunity to visit the Naches Peak Loop, which sits nearly 10,000 feet below the peak. 

"It is one of the absolute best wildflower hikes in the state of Washington," said hiking guru Craig Romano.

Naches has more than wildflowers: there are high mountain lakes for cooling off and reminders of why this range is called "The Cascades."

"There's not a bad section on this trail. in that 3.3 miles it's all flowers — it's all views. It's all open."

For an urban hike, Romano recommends Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. The 340 acre park has seven miles of trails.

Many Tacomans will drive past Point Defiance Park on their way to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium — but the 450 year old park also features 15 miles of trails and pockets of old growth trees. You might even run into some wildlife.

"There are parts of the park are you gonna feel like you're deep in the wilderness," said Romano, "Not only is it one of the finest urban parks here in Washington but I would say it is one of the finest urban parks in the entire country."

Lastly, Swan Creek Park in Tacoma has miles of creekside trails in the lower area, and a hole lot of history in the upper area.

"That used to be a World War II housing development. Now, you're walking through a ghost village."

South sound hiking: It's as easy, or difficult, as you want to make it.

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