Mt. Rainier was another of the stops I
was looking forward to the most on our 70 day road trip. Sadly, the
forecast called for high chances of rain each day. Rain I can work
around, but little did I know, that much of the year, the incredible
giant that is Mt. Rainier is covered in cloud cover and fog so thick
that it isn’t even visible. Our visit here was cut to only two days
because of car repairs, but during those two days, none of the
mountain itself was visible. Luckily, there is still plenty to do and
many gorgeous things that can be seen if you take the time to explore
the park’s lower elevations.
selected to do early on was the Grove of Patriarchs hike. Entranced
with the giant sequoias at Yosemite, the boys were itching to delve
deep into this old growth forest and see the giants that live here as
well. Rumor of a swinging suspension bridge didn’t hurt either.
This Grove of Patriarchs hike leads
visitors on a riverside trail and across a suspension bridge that
warns of “one person at a time on the bridge.” Once across the
bridge, you enter an old growth forest that has survived for hundreds
of years on a sort of island. These amazing trees have seen all of
the history this country has to offer and are still standing tall. It
is quite a site to see.
different areas, but we found the easiest place to start was in the B
loop of the Ohanapecosh Campground near the entry of the park. This
is about a 2.2 mile loop trail. It first winds through a Hot Springs
area which used to be a developed area with cabins that first drew
visitors to the park. It then wanders through forest growth and past
small trickling creeks with miniature waterfalls. Things get a bit
steep and moderately strenuous when you reach the Silver Falls overlook,
but trust me, it’s worth it.
water that cascades in a roaring tumult to the rocky bed below. I
have always loved the sound of rushing water, and could stand and
listen to this waterfall forever. At this point, you can return to
the campground back the way you came, or continue on to complete the
loop that also leads back to the campground. We chose the former as
it was getting late, and we wanted to get back to cook dinner.
with a variety of scenic overlooks. At higher elevations, you can
imagine how breathtaking the view would be, but if it is covered in
thick cloud cover, your imagination is all that is going to be put to
use. At lower elevations though, even with a slight drizzle in the
air, these scenic overlooks are worth a stop.
offer guests. There are no shortage of deep gorges carved out by the
rushing river below, or silky waterfalls that flow over the
cliff-sides, so take your camera and enjoy a ride through the park,
even if the weather isn’t ideal.
National Park, we stayed in the Ohanapecosh Campground located at the
entrance of the park. Some of the loops were still closed, but there
were still spots available. At this time of the year, the spots are
first come first served, so try to arrive early to secure your spot.
Sites do not include electric, although potable water is nearby, and
there are flush toilets with sinks in the bathrooms.
great views to offer those who take the time to explore. The ???
River rushes through the middle of the campground, and you can often
spot an animal or two walking its banks. We were able to see deer and
a spotted owl while wandering the campground. Campsites are $12 a
night and are payable at the fee booth when you arrive.
your stay, but you can still tour the Visitor’s Center in Paradise at
the base of Mt. Rainier. Here, you can learn about the history of the
park, as well as get an idea of the geological makeup and structure
of the mountain. Information on the mountain’s harsh climates and the
animals that have adapted to live there are available too. Plus, you
can get a hot bite to eat or pick up a souvenir in their gift shop.
Rainier National Park hoping to see the mountain itself, there is no
way to predict what the weather will be like during your stay. If Mt.
Rainier is not visible and you want to make the most of your visit,
the activities above are great alternatives to the trails and
overlooks at higher elevations, and are plenty to fill a few days of