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Pierce County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 08 October 2014

Population: 819,743

Area: 1,806  square miles

County Seat: Tacoma

OVERVIEW

Pierce County is the second most-populous county in Washington State after King County. The population of the county is 819,743. The area of the county is 1,806 square miles. Tacoma is the largest city and the county seat.

The main geographical feature of the county is the location of the Mount Rainier Volcano on its’ territory. Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the Cascade Range. The latest eruption of the volcano was between 1820 and 1854, but geologists say and expect the volcano to erupt again.

HISTORY

The first people that inhabited this land were Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin, Steilacoom and Muckleshoot Indians. They lived near the water and fishing was their main trade.

Later when English Captain George Vancouver sailed the inland water, all these tribes were presented on this territory. The inland waters were named Puget’s Sound in honor of a young lieutenant who continued exploring these waters.

On December 22, 1852, the Territorial Legislature of Oregon created King, Jefferson and Pierce County out of Thurston County. The founding of the county has opened the era of new settlement, though this process was slow, but steady.

COUNTY SEAT

Tacoma is a middle-sized city on the Puget Sound, which is located in 32 miles southwest from Seattle and in 58 miles northwest from Mount Rainier National Park. Tacoma is the third largest city in the state. Its’ name the city got from Mount Tahoma, which can be found near Mount Rainier.

The city is also known for its’ world-renowned glass art. This is a very vibrant city that unites history, art and natural beauty. Enjoy the museum district here and learn more about city’s history, explore art and glass here. Tacoma is a walkable city, so enjoy the historic Proctor and Stadium districts.

ATTRACTIONS

Mount Rainier National Park

Photo from Pierce CountyMt. Rainier is the central point of Mount Rainier National Park which is situated in the eastern half of Pierce County. The territory of the park is 953.5 square kilometers.

Every year more than 2 million tourists visit this national park. Here everyone will find something to do and to enjoy: hiking up the mountain, walking around the beautiful park, camping recreation or skiing in winter. There are more than 600 campsites and lodges in the park. Tourists can take a trip along mountain paths with total length of 480 km. The most visited place is situated on the southern slope and is called Paradise valley. It’s very gorgeous and worth of seeing.

Most visitors who want to enjoy the wild nature are not limited to usual paths of Mt. Rainier; they go deeper into the park. In winter there are not less tourists than in summer, because the nature itself has created the greatest opportunities for skiers.

It should be mentioned that the top of Mt. Rainier is covered by 26 glaciers; each of them has the name. With all the snow and ice they create a huge glacier system, which includes Glacier Carbon as well as Emmons Glacier. Glacier Nisqually is the easiest one to get to, over the past 45 years it increased by several times and then decreased again, melted showing the obvious climate changes. The impressive 149 km road that runs along the slopes of Mount Rainier is called Wonderland, and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views of the peaks and glaciers. Last time Rainier erupted in 1820-1854.

The Mount Rainier region offers wonderful opportunities all the year round, and they are not limited to hiking and skiing: horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, steam train rides, a wildlife park and many other things to enjoy.

Dale Chihuly’s Glass Art

The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot pedestrian walkway that connects the Museum of Glass to the Washington State History Museum plaza. This bridge features three displays of Chihuly glass art, and is considered to be an outdoor museum. It should be mentioned that Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma.

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is a 72-acre park which is situated in an hour drive from Seattle. It’s not a usual zoo; it’s a wildlife area which is located in the forests near Mount Rainier. Here visitors can encounter more than 200 animals from North America. All of these animals live in the park among the great natural beauty of the lakes, streams, forests and meadows.

Photo from Pierce CountyThere are several ways to explore Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The first one is the Tram tour and the second one is the Walking tour. To tell you the truth, it’s difficult to say which of them is better. Both ways of park exploration give different perspectives of the park and different ways of enjoying the wildlife.

The Tram tour usually lasts for 50-55 minutes and takes you around 435-acre territory. In these open-air trams visitors of the park are taken into the middle of wildlife. Each of these tours are led by professional naturalists that know everything about this park, its’ history and, of course, about the animals that live here. During this Tram tour visitors enjoy animals that wander in the forests or rest on the sunny meadows. Very often wild animals come too close to the tram, so you can enjoy them from a very close distance.

It should be also said that during a tram ride visitors will enjoy bison, woodland caribou and Roosevelt elk. It is really unusual and great that you can enjoy watching the wild animals from a comfortable sit of the tram.

The Walking tour gives you totally different opportunities and different experience. Paved walking trails lead visitors around a special area in the park where you may enjoy coyotes, cougars, foxes, grizzly bears, bald eagles, porcupines, etc. Not so often visitors may see the lynx and the bobcat. It should be said that this Walking tour is great for the kids, the paths are really comfortable and, what’s more important, you can even rent a stroller for your small kids just on the territory of the park.

Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park is a 702-acre wooded area with a number of great green spaces and attractions located within the park. Visitors will enjoy hiking opportunities, visiting the zoo or just sitting here and having picnic with family and friends.

Fort Nisqually

Fort Nisqually is a history museum which is perfect for families with kids. Volunteers and staff members dress up as historical figures going about daily activities of the 1800s. Enjoy the living history here.


Information: Marina Petrova

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