Most of us are counting down until September 22, which marks the official start of pumpkin spice, er, we mean fall season. And why not? In addition to the aforementioned pumpkin spice to look forward to, there is a cool reprieve from the dog days of summer, the opportunity to sport that gorgeous vintage pea coat you got on sale, and best of all, leaf peeping.

Ah, leaf peeping—one of the many stress relieving and free gifts offered to us by Mother Nature. Pack up a yummy picnic and hit one of the gorgeous spots in Pierce County to catch sight of some of nature’s splendor. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite leaf peeping spots for you. When you’re gathering all the goodies for your picnic basket, don’t forget to grab a thermos-full of pumpkin spice latte!

Fall at Tacoma's Japanese Garden
You’ll peep all kinds of colors at the Japanese Garden in Point Defiance Park. Photo courtesy: Metro Parks Tacoma

Point Defiance Park

Is there a single Tacoma resident who doesn’t adore Point Defiance Park? A park so majestic that visitors from New York say that Central Park doesn’t even do it justice? What’s not to love? A beach, a rose garden, a zoo and aquarium, a Japanese garden, a living history museum, and some of the best leaf peeping in perhaps all of Washington make up this splendorous scene. Catch key leaf peeping opportunities along the many forested trails and throughout the landmark Five Mile Drive, but don’t miss the turning maple trees in the Japanese garden.

Wright Park

In Tacoma’s Stadium District, Wright Park is a beacon to all T-Towners. That is never truer than in summer and fall, when singletons, couples, families, and friends all vie for the limited street parking. The summer attracts those looking for a spot to enjoy the sunshine or the spray park, but fall kicks Wright Park up several notches. The ubiquitous foliage transforms and the park becomes a prime leaf peeping location. With its conservatory and a multitude of sculptures scattered throughout the park, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to spend the day.

Fall Leaves Loyalty Park
Loyalty Park in Sumner features the most and oldest trees of all Sumner’s parks. Photo courtesy: City of Sumner

Loyalty Park

This picturesque park is the oldest park in Sumner and it really hits its stride in the fall. The leaves change into a palette of wonderful colors and drop throughout the season, eventually covering the grounds, picnic tables, and playground. The neighborhood park is a hit with locals, but worth the drive even if you don’t reside in Sumner. In addition to the leaf peeping splendor, there is a basketball court and a high tech children’s playground, so you can easily make a day of it, even with little ones.

Wildwood Park

This 80-acre park in Puyallup is full of leaf peeping opportunities. From the majestic stone bridges to the rustic wooden bridges to the multitude of trails, Wildwood Park truly lives up to its name. As you meander through the lush landscape, it almost seems as if you were somehow transported to a place when fairies and elves and sprites exist and you never want to leave. There’s even a Bigfoot crossing sign to complete the illusion (see if you can find it).

Clocktower Park
While away the hours at Clocktower Park in Dupont. Photo credit: Ily Goyanes

Clocktower Park

In Dupont, there actually is a clocktower and its location is amidst a lot of trees, which makes it one of the top spots for locals to go leaf peeping. One of the reasons for locals’ fondness of the park is that the changing colors of the leaves really stand out in contrast to the stark white of its namesake clocktower. There’s an easily maneuvered concrete path that meanders throughout the park.

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