Here in Washington, we’re incredibly lucky to live near so many National Parks! This summer we’ve explored both the Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier became the fifth National Park in 1899. It’s absolutely gorgeous and well worth a visit if you’re in Washington State. We’ve gone to Mount Rainier 3 times now and each time has been great. That said, there’s still so much more to explore! They also have a fun Junior Ranger program that both of our girls enjoyed participating in. Below are a couple of our favorite parts of the park:
We’ve been to Paradise twice now and both times have been lovely. In early August, there are tons of wildflowers (remember to enjoy them from the path and not to pick them)! From the Visitor’s Center, there are tons of hikes for all abilities and many paths cross together so you could essentially make your own hike (which is what we did our last visit).
The Visitor’s Center itself has good, clean bathrooms and also a surprisingly good food court. They also offer different programs and events that you can check out once you arrive.
When we hiked close to dusk, we were able to see a good amount of animals. This last visit we saw marmots, birds, deer (including a fawn), and tons of squirrels and chipmunks. Just make sure to bring your bug spray with as there were also plenty of mosquitos at that time.
Grove of the Patriarchs
The trail to the Grove of the Patriarchs is in the Ohanapecosh Area. The trail itself is fairly easy and flat and is a little over a mile long. It takes you to a little island where trees are 1000 years old and over 300 feet tall. It’s a gorgeous forest and incredibly green. We talked a lot about Ents with the girls when we did this walk. 😉
One could easily do both this hike and a short hike at Paradise on the same day.
If you’re coming from Olympia, Sunrise is a little bit farther away, but well worth the drive. While there are several hikes there (all ranging in difficulty), we did the Sunrise Nature Trail (about 1.5 miles roundtrip). This offered beautiful views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier without being too difficult for our kids.
Overall, we love Mount Rainier! Every visit offers something new and it’s always a treat to see what we discover.
Have you been to Mount Rainier National Park? What are some of your favorite places and hikes in the area?
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