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News / Northwest

Fuel your summer adventures with outdoor events

By Gregory Scruggs, The Seattle Times
Published: May 27, 2023, 6:15pm
2 Photos
From Commencement Bay in Tacoma, Washington, Mt. Rainier looms large.
From Commencement Bay in Tacoma, Washington, Mt. Rainier looms large. (Sean Pavone/Dreamstime/TNS) (Associated Press files) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — Summer is prime time for just about every outdoor activity that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. For many hobbies, it’s also a chance to gather the like-minded for a celebration or friendly competition. Whether you paddle, pedal, camp or run, there’s likely an event or festival to choose from. Here are just a few of this summer’s highlights.

Tacoma Ocean Fest: Celebrate the weekend before World Ocean Day in downtown Tacoma with a twilight lantern paddle and a beach cleanup. Get on the water with kayak tryouts and boat tours, or stay landside to enjoy circus acts, music and dance performances, poetry readings, kids’ activities, hands-on science experiences and engaging speakers.

June 2-4; Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St., Tacoma; free; tacomaoceanfest.org

Rainshadow Running Millersylvania Trail Races: Both Rainshadow Running and Evergreen Trail Runs host trail running races year-round throughout Washington, but this weekender at Millersylvania State Park offers 5K, 10K, 30K and 50K events, or the doozy: 12 hours, covering as much mileage as you can muster (solo or in relay). With scant elevation gain compared to most Washington trail runs, Millersylvania is ideal for beginning trail runners. The location at the state park retreat center offers solid infrastructure for a weekend of trail running — a lakeside beach and bunkhouses, for starters.

June 17-18; Millersylvania State Park, 12245 Tilley Road S.W., Olympia; $30-$150; rainshadowrunning.com/millersylvaniatrailraces

Swift Campout: Every year, Seattle-based bike-bag brand Swift Industries marks the weekend closest to the summer solstice with a global callout to go bike camping. This year, Swift Adventure Co. (the trip-planning sibling of Swift Industries) has plotted an intermediate-advanced group mountain bike ride that will take you 70 miles round-trip from the heart of Seattle through King County singletrack trails to an undisclosed campsite (route and location revealed at registration).

June 24-25; leaving from Peloton Cafe at 1224 E. Jefferson St., Seattle; $30; st.news/Swift

Northwest Tune-Up: Bellingham is the state’s undisputed capital of mountain biking, and the city will make sure everyone knows it at the second annual Northwest Tune-Up, a festival focusing on the holy trinity of Pacific Northwest culture: bikes, music and beer. There is no other event where you can challenge yourself in an enduro race, cool off with a Bellingham-brewed craft beer, and watch live music from local luminaries like Travis Thompson and the True Loves.

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July 14-16; Waterfront Waypoint Park, 1145 Granary Ave., Bellingham; adults/$75 single-day admission, $150 three-day pass, youth/$30 single-day, $60 three-day; nwtuneup.com

Intertribal Canoe Journey Paddle to Muckleshoot: Since 1989, Coast Salish tribes have held an annual paddle across the Salish Sea to a designated host tribe or First Nation. This year, the Muckleshoot are playing host, inviting Indigenous people from across British Columbia, Oregon and Washington to arrive by canoe to Alki Beach by July 30. Watching tribes practice this ancient tradition while celebrating their modern-day presence is a profoundly spiritual Pacific Northwest moment.

July 30; Alki Beach, 2665 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle; free to spectate; muckleshootcanoejourney.com

Gigantic Bicycle Festival: All things two-wheeled and human-powered converge for a weekend of bike rides throughout the Snoqualmie Valley, as well as camping to enjoy everything from bike-themed yoga and art installations to live music from the likes of Thao and Who Is She? Don’t let the name fool you: You don’t need a gigantic bike — rather, the giganticness comes from the sheer number of bikes.

Aug. 4-5; Centennial Fields Park, 39903 S.E. Park St., Snoqualmie; $25-$75; gigantic.bike

Refuge Outdoor Festival: Inspired by an unpleasant encounter with law enforcement while solo backpacking in Vermont, Refuge Outdoor Festival is a space for outdoor enthusiasts of color to camp in a larger community for a weekend that promises skills clinics, nature walks, live music and performing arts, craft-making, healing practices and relaxation along the beautiful Snoqualmie River. Pitch a tent, book a yurt or try out an REI turnkey camping setup — the choice is yours.

Aug. 18-20; Tolt-MacDonald Park and Campground, 31020 N.E. 40th St., Carnation; single-day adult pass/$55, festival pass/$125, ages 6-17 festival pass/$45; st.news/Refuge

Ragnar Trail Rainier: The mountains are calling, and you must go. Field eight runners as a relay team — with options to compete as a smaller team — to tackle trails in the shadow of Mount Rainier over two days and one night. Enjoy crushing vertical climbs, stunning alpine lakes and, of course, up-close-and-personal views of the mighty mountain. This entry in the popular Ragnar relay race series is equal parts thigh burner and crowd pleaser.

Aug. 25-26; Crystal Mountain Resort, 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd., Greenwater; $400-$1,480 per team, depending on team size and age group; runragnar.com/event-detail/trail/rainier

Wooden Boat Festival: Admire the vibrant culture of maritime craftsmanship on Puget Sound, where shipwrights and sailmakers conduct some of the finest boat building, repair and restoration work on the Pacific Coast. The largest wooden boat festival in North America is a rare chance to see and sail 300 of the finest specimens, from schooners to longboats.

Sept. 8-10; Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend; $25 single-day tickets, $50 three-day pass, kids 12 and under free; woodenboat.org