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Colorful fall foliage walks and drives near JBLM

Parks and Japanese Gardens for you to enjoy

These lovely trees in Clocktower Park will soon explode into fall color. Photo Credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Even though Washington is known as the evergreen state due to the Douglas Firs and pine trees that remain green year-round there are plenty of places to see stunning fall foliage near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) with stunning color. These colors really seems to pop when contrasted with the evergreens and rivals East Coast displays. The following are a few top choices for you to experience.

The row of trees in Clocktower Park in Dupont bursts into bright red fall colors as the weather gets cooler. Located not far from JBLM the concrete trail through the park is stroller friendly. Add in a playground and on-site bathrooms for a perfect weekday get out of the house destination.

CLOCKTOWER PARK, open dawn to dusk daily, 1401 Palisade Blvd., Dupont                 

The fall foliage experience in the Pacific Northwest is not complete without a visit to a Japanese Garden. The design ensures the gardens look good all four seasons, but they really shine when the Japanese maples explode into brilliant red color. The closest to JBLM is the Japanese Garden in Point Defiance Park. The colorful trees contrast nicely with the Shinto Shrine and Torii Gate. In Seattle, the historic Kubota Garden stuns with 140 maple varieties in the 20-acre park. The fall foliage reflecting off 11 ponds provides a gorgeous backdrop for photographs.

POINT DEFIANCE PARK, open daily 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., 5400 N Pearl St., Tacoma, 253.305.1088

KUBOTA GARDEN, open sunrise to sunset daily, 9817 55th Ave. S, Seattle, 206.725.5060,

One of the largest collections of Japanese maples in North America bursts into fall color at the Washington Park Arboretum UW Botanic Gardens. Explore the over 230 acres comprised of gardens, natural areas  and wetlands, by car or on foot. Begin at the Graham Visitors Center where you can find maps, restrooms and a gift shop. From the visitor center take Arboretum Drive for a scenic route by car. To learn more about the site hike Lookout Loop or the Pinetum Loop both have interpretive signs about the collections and history of the park. Everything is free and open to the public except for the Seattle Japanese Garden which has a fee. Winding paths with bridges, Japanese buildings, and well-designed plantings can be found in this 3.5-acre urban retreat. It is very popular, and visitors are limited due to COVID-19 so purchase tickets online to avoid disappointment.  

WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM UW BOTANIC GARDENS, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E, Seattle, 206.543.8800,

Closer to JBLM is the Wright Park Arboretum on a 27-acre site in the heart of downtown Tacoma. The Park has over 600 trees of 145 species, many that are over 100 years old. The biggest trees of their species are Champion Trees as rated by the American Forest Association. Wright Park has 18 Washington State Champion Trees. This is a great place for a fall picnic.

WRIGHT PARK ARBORETUM, open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 501 S I St., Tacoma, 253.305.1000,

This is just a glimpse of places to see fall foliage. For longer trips head to Mt. Rainier or Olympic National Parks.

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