Tacoma Narrows

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, located in Puget Sound, has easy sea kayak access from Titlow Park and Owen Beach. With its twin suspension bridges towering above and strong currents, the Tacoma Narrows is a dramatic place to paddle.

launch points

  • Titlow Park in University Place.
  • Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park.
  • Gig Harbor Public Boat Launch at the end of Randall Dr NW. There are no restrooms at here, but there is a restroom about 0.6 mile away at the City Park at Crescent Creek off Vernhardson Street. Parking here is somewhat limited, so you may have to park on nearby residential streets. The beach is mucky at minus tides.
  • Eddon Boat Park at 3805 Harborview Dr in Gig Harbor. Restrooms are across the bay from the launch. Head ~260º magnetic across the harbor and into a cove. Look for the red brick building.
  • Skansie Brothers Park in Gig Harbor.
  • Steilacoom Ferry Terminal
  • Narrows Park

on the water

Tacoma Narrows

With each tide cycle all the water filling or draining Puget Sound south of the Narrows must pass through this restriction resulting in currents of up to almost 6 knots! Strong currents flowing past the bridge piers produce strong eddylines, boils and whirlpools, with complex patterns between upstream and downstream piers. It can be an exciting play or a good place to avoid.  Much calmer water is available along either shore, but wind through the channel, especially opposing the current can still produce rough water. The north entrance of the Narrows also provides challenging tidal rips on an ebb. 

Steilacoom to Point Defiance

This is a current assisted trip through the Tacoma Narrows.  Starting on an ebb, the route follows the current north around Point Defiance to Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park.  Strong currents, tide rips and possible eddylines are possible on high current days, with the potential of wind adding to rough water conditions.  With favorable tidal timing, ride the flood back to the launch.  The trip can be reversed for days with a morning flood.  It is also possible to shorten the trip by starting or finishing at Titlow Beach in University Place, or make the trip one way with an easy car shuttle.

  • Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • MapTech Puget Sound Chart No. 100
Trip Reports

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  • Steilacoom to Point Defiance

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