Saltwater State Park
Saltwater State Park is a compact 87.4 acre plot of second-growth timber on Puget Sound in the City of Des Moines, Washington halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. The main attraction is 1,445 feet of saltwater beachfront, including an excellent sandy swimming beach in the southwest corner, and rocky tideflats along the west with a submerged artificial reef that is popular with scuba divers. A forty-person group camp looks down on the beach from a high bluff.
Overlooked by most visitors is the steep ravine of McSorley (formerly Smith) Creek which winds inland in a gentle "S" curve joined by three tributary streams. Fifty-two campsites are situated on a road that parallels the creek, serving the public on a first-come-first-served basis. On both the north and south sides of the ravine there is a network of hiking trails which follow up the side creeks, rise through jungles of stinging nettles, skirt the edges of cliffs and ridges, and cross wooded plateaus.
Marine View Drive is routed over the entire park on a 200 foot-high bridge, and 16th Avenue S crosses two branches of McSorley Creek to form the eastern boundary. One trail rises between the two branches of the creek to exit the park, while another trail continues from the dead-end of the campground service road a short way east of 16th Ave. along the main branch of the creek, informally extending the park.
The Redondo turn point for jets approaching SeaTac Airport is just to the south, so the park is rather noisy, but Saltwater remains the most-used State Park in the Puget Sound region with an average of 750,000 visitors a year.