"Point Defiance Park: Rhododendron Garden" Top 5 Page for this destination Tacoma Off The Beaten Path Tip by glabah
Tacoma Off The Beaten Path: 57 reviews and 241 photos
Please note that this is located inside Point Defiance Park, which has a large number of activities and attractions. For basic information on Point Defiance Park, please see my Point Defiance tip which gives a basic introduction to the park, and links to the various other attractions and activities inside the park.
Most people think of rhododendron as being from Asia, but that isn't completely the case. There are a number of rhododendron species that grow wild in the remote forests of the Pacific Northwest.
However, typically when you go to a rhododendron garden, even here in the Pacific Northwest, you will find that most of the gardens are heavily cultivated in style. This is in keeping with the perception that rhododendron are at home in Asian style gardens with a high degree of cultivation.
This is NOT the case with the Point Defiance Rhododendron Garden. Here, the rhododendron grow in a highly wild forest environment with very little cultivation. Some of these rhododendron have been allowed to grow to the size of trees, and in all cases they are allowed to be whatever comes naturally to them in the forest environment.
There are several trails through this part of the park, and there is a covered picnic shelter. However, there is no parking directly at the rhododendron garden.
How to Get Here: The closest parking area is at the "Rustic Picnic Area" that is located on the southeastern side of the park. If you are driving, just after you enter the forest on the five mile loop road, you will quickly come to the "Rustic Picnic Area" sign on the right side of the road. Park in this area and follow the gravel trail on the uphill side of the road along the road for a brief distance until you come to the rhododendron garden. The closest bus routes are Pierce County Transit #10 or #11, which serve the Point Defiance to Vashion Island ferry pier. From there you have to find your way up the hill on the various park trails.
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