This roughly 5-mile loop covers a number of trails of varying difficulty, providing excellent forest scenery and occasional wildlife such as birds, rabbits, and coyotes. While the trails can be confusing if you haven't spent time in the park, the trails are generally well signed and there are numerous locations with maps posted. The park is relatively popular with runners and mountain bikers, so you are unlikely to find solitude on an otherwise enjoyable run in a pleasant park.
Best place to park for this loop is along the road on Norpoint Way Northeast, which is free and does not require a Discovery Pass. It is also very close to the Funnel for the start and end of the loop.
There are no bathrooms or port-a-potties on this loop.
Dash Point has a lot of shorter trails, which can be very different in terms of obstacles and elevation changes. This loop takes you around the outer edges of the park, covering many different trails, and allows you to experience most of the park. However, because Dash Point has so many shorter trails, this loop requires switching onto a new trail often. This loop stops and starts at the Funnel.
These are the trails to follow, in order, with Left or Right indicated where needed: (1) Know-It-All-Kid Trail
; (2) Ridge Trail
; (3) Paul's Trail
; (4) The Downhill
; Heart Attack Hill
(turn left from The Downhill
); (5) Outbound Trail
; (6) East Rim Trail
; (7) Boundary Trail
; (8) Shannon's Shin
; (9) Hoyt Road Trail
(turn right from Shannon's Shin
); (10) Switchback
; (11) Fern Alley Trail
; (12) Hoyt Road Trail
(turn left from Fern Alley Trail
; (13) Shannon's Shin
; (14) Boundary Trail
; (15) Log Jam
Trail; (16) IMBA Trail
; (17) Ridge Trail
(turn left from IMBA Trail
); (18) Night Crawler
; (19) Technical Trail
; and (20) Kate's Creak Trail
From the Know-It-All-Kid Trail
through Paul's Trail
, it is an easy warm-up on mostly flat terrain with slight losses of elevation. As you turn onto The Downhill
, you start running next to a small ravine with a creek running through it. The Downhill
has several spots where care should be taken for short but significant drops in elevation and some root obstacles.
is a wider track, with few obstacles, that is a gradual downhill to the junction with East Rim Trail
. East Rim Trail
is a narrower track with lots of roots that picks up the elevation you lost on Outbound Trail
. Towards the end of East Rim Trail
, to the right down a short side trail, there is a bridge over the creek which can be a short detour before getting back into the loop. The end of East Rim Trail
, where it intersects with Outbound Trail
and Boundary Trail
, has a map and bench.
Continue down Boundary Trail
, which is wide and allows you to pick up the pace for roughly 0.2 miles before a left turn to stay on Boundary Trail
for another 0.25 miles or so. This portion of Boundary Trail
often has runners and dogs, so keep an eye out.
Turn left onto Shannon's Shin
, which is also wide and flat, for a short distance before a right turn onto Hoyt Road Trail
. There is a fallen tree partially blocking the trail a short distance before you turn left onto Switchback
. The Switchback
and Fern Alley Trail
are narrow with lots of roots and obstacles. Fern Alley Trail
has a section towards its middle which drops to a pond on the right and frogs and snakes are often seen on the trail.
After Fern Alley Trail
, take a left back onto Hoyt Road Trail
, which is wide, gravely, and uphill. From Hoyt Road Trail
, you retrace your steps on Shannon's Shin
and Boundary Trail
On Boundary Trail
, you'll turn left at the intersection and go a short distance before turning right onto Log Jam
Trail. Log Jam
Trail is roughly a mile of singletrack with plenty of obstacles. It also heads uphill for most of its distance.
From Log Jam
Trail, turn left onto IMBA Trail
, which continues to gain slight elevation, and cross two small wooden bridges. The first wooden bridge you cross isn't entirely stable, so take care. At the end of IMBA Trail
, turn left onto Ridge Trail
, right into Night Crawler
, and continue on to Technical Trail
for the final stretch of the loop.
This last section over Night Crawler
and Technical Trail
is narrow, with frequent elevation gains and losses, and has lots of roots to trip over. Sight lines can be minimal, so keep an eye out for runners and dogs. After you cross three small wood bridges towards the end of Technical Trail
, turn left onto Kate's Creak Trail
, and finish where you started at the graffiti-riddled funnel.
Dash Point State Park
is a 398-acre park on Puget Sound that straddles the line between King and Pierce counties. The park has over 3,300 feet of shoreline, 140 campsites, 11 miles of trails for running and mountain biking, and offers beachcombing, fishing, swimming, birdwatching, windsurfing, skimboarding, and wildlife viewing.