Wapato Hills Park (Skip and Laura Vaughn Playfield)

6231 S Wapato St
Tacoma, WA 98409


Park Hours
Open ½ hour before sunrise
Close ½ hour after sunset

2020 Sprayground Hours:
Due to COVID-19 the sprayground will remain closed until further notice.

Wapato Hills Park in South Tacoma features the Skip and Laura Vaughn playground & sprayground next to a large undeveloped area.

Wapato Hills Park in South Tacoma features the Skip and Laura Vaughn playground & sprayground next to a large undeveloped area.

Wapato Hills Walking Path and Trails:

  • It is approximately one-quarter mile around this park on the sidewalk. Longer trails can be found in the natural area surrounding the park. View trail map for details.

Wapato Hills Park Map Trails and Paths


  • Limited public parking available. Visitors who park in “permit required” street parking are advised that they may be ticketed by the City of Tacoma. Citizens can contact 253-591-5500 or jkammerzell@cityoftacoma.org to request a no-fee parking permit that is valid for parking along the east side of Wapato Street (abutting the park).

Wapato Hills Park History

Park Established: 1994
Park land acres: 14.22

The property was purchased in 1919 as a future reservoir site, however in 1968 it was declared as surplus property. Options for the area that were discussed after that included convention center, auto shopping mall, private school or sports center. In 1978 the Tahoma Audubon Society recommended the area be considered open space and preserved. In 1994 the Wapato Task Force was set up and suggested to the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Utility and Metro Parks Tacoma that the 80 acre area be divided into two sections with Metro Parks Tacoma developing 10 acres of the territory into a neighborhood park and the other 70 acres being preserved as open nature space.

A new playfield was dedicated September 15, 2002 to Skip and Laura Vaughn. Vaughn led a six-year fight to raise $5.6 million to purchase the land and worked tirelessly to help develop the four-acre playfield which features a combination soccer/softball field with backstop, restrooms, basketball court, spray plaza, walking trail and an extensive playground. The site is also home to the Tacoma Power Memorial to fallen linemen.

Park Improvements

Completed February 2016
New master plan. New and upgraded trails, signage and trailheads.

The trail project cost of $167,300. Funds came from both the 2014 and 2005 voter-approved bond issues.

The following improvements were made:

  • Applied gravel to the existing, lollipop-shaped, hilltop trail,
  • Built two new pathways from the north and south sides of the park, starting from South 56th and South 64th streets, respectively,
  • Constructed two boardwalks to protect wetlands, and
  • Replaced the vehicular gate at the South 64th Street paved trailhead.

The design of the improvements is consistent with an updated master plan developed by Metro Parks Tacoma with the City of Tacoma in 2013. Now through a partnership agreement, Metro Parks is in charge of Wapato Hills maintenance and it actively supports the efforts of the Friends of Wapato Hills Park volunteer group.

wapato hills new trail bridge 2015

Park Trail Map

Wapato Hills Park Map Trails and Paths

Wapato Hill Park Trail Map (PDF)


Natural Areas
Parking Stalls
Parking Stalls / ADA
picnic shelter
Picnic Shelter - Drop-in
Restrooms / Seasonal
More Features (1)