The 600-foot-long, 50-foot-tall Wilson Way bridge and trail links Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way.

Located in Point Defiance Park
5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma WA 98407

Wilson Way Pedestrian Bridge 2

Former Executive Director Jack C. Wilson

Wilson Way provides multi-use access into the park from Ruston Way.

  • It is the long-sought “missing link” trail between the two and a critical piece of the goal to connect Tacoma’s downtown and beyond to Point Defiance Park.
  • More than a bridge, Wilson Way is a moment, with spans that cross 50 feet in the air to create a space for people to enjoy spectacular views of Puget Sound.

Oct. 10, 2016

The Park Board honored the longtime service of retired Executive Director Jack C. Wilson by naming the future multi-use bridge Wilson Way. President Hanberg spoke of the district’s numerous accomplishments under Wilson’s leadership for 17 years and noted Wilson’s commitment to ensuring access and community involvement throughout the park system.

July 6, 2019

The 50-foot-tall Wilson Way bridge which links Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way officially opens to to the public.

Wilson Way 2

About Dune Peninsula and Wilson Way

Metro Parks was the lead agency on the highly complex effort to build the pedestrian bridge and convert the peninsula created by toxic slag from the ASARCO copper smelter into a safe, welcoming park. The work involved moving 400,000 cubic yards of dirt – that’s 22,000 truck-and-trailer loads – and installing a woven geotextile cap. All of this work was managed by general contractor Atkinson Construction under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

It’s considered the largest project in Metro Parks history as the park district and the numerous partners guided a multi-faceted approach to enhance the park experience and honor its character.

About the new features

Wilson Way Bridge

The 605-foot-long bridge is the missing link between Point Defiance and Ruston Way. The bridge, which towers above a new parking lot for park users and boat trailers, includes a section in the middle that designers call “The Moment” because visitors can’t help but stop and take in the expansive views. The Park Board named the bridge after Jack C. Wilson, who retired in 2016 after 17 years as executive director of Metro Parks.


wilson way at point defiance

Slides and Stairs

Affectionately described by staff as a real-life “Chutes and Ladders” experience, this series of six slides next to the east end of the bridge is the fun way to quickly get down to the marina complex below. Each slide has a set of stairs next to it for those who prefer a slower route.

Wilson Way Pedestrian Bridge 1

Dune Peninsula

Eleven acres of the peninsula created by ASARCO slag were covered with tons of dirt and the artificial cap, and then beautifully sculpted and landscaped. The results speak for themselves: the Cambia Legacy Lawn for concerts and other events, as well as raised “sail mounds” for spectacular views, and lots of benches and tables to take in all of that nature. A small pavilion features restrooms and rentable space.

Learn more about Dune Peninsula

Dune peninsula drone view from above

Frank Herbert Trail

This paved pedestrian trail, named for the Tacoma native and famed author of the groundbreaking science fiction novel “Dune,” loops around the peninsula and connects to the Ruston Way Waterwalk as well as the trail that crosses Wilson Way and heads into Point Defiance Park. Medallions containing Herbert and “Dune”-based quotations will be embedded in the path later this year.

Learn more about Dune Peninsula

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