On July 26, 2013, I thoroughly enjoyed my ride from the War Memorial parking lot just east (or is it really south) of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Gig Harbor. I stopped on the bridge several times to take in the gorgeous views, then did the same on the return trip to my car.
On the way into Gig Harbor I decided to head downtown (lunch, a beer, rent a kayak, whatever) instead of continuing to the end of the Cushman Trail, so I turned right on Pioneer Way and carefully descended 260 feet straight down into the charming city center, knowing full well that I might be walking my bike back up that monster hill after my downtown visit. However, I was hopeful that I could find an easier way back up to reconnect to the trail.
Thanks to some directions from the local fly shop (where I bought two salmon flies), I found a much nicer way back to the trail -- Soundview Drive -- which starts just a block east of Pioneer Way. The climb is considerably longer, but far less steep than Pioneer Way (less huffing and puffing), and the views of the Sound and Mount Rainier are to die for. Soundview then connects to the Cushman Trail at the visitor center/restroom facility on Hollycroft Street. From there I continued on the trail, back over the Narrows Bridge (stop, stop, gawk, gawk), and then to my starting point.
On my next trip I'll try yet another route that is even closer to the water than Soundview Drive. The Reid Drive/14th Avenue route (which can be accessed at the intersection with Hollycroft) looks like it might be a winner. Based on the TrailLink map (I love these maps), it appears that there is little elevation gain on this route -- and the sound/mountain views might even be better. Of course, these alternative routes would work nicely in either direction.
Has anyone taken the Reid Drive/14th Avenue route? If not, I'll report back next time I ride my steed into Gig Harbor.
Keep on Bikin'!
Tom from Hansville, WA