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Explore Mt. Rainier National Park

Early Pass Openings This Spring!. Cayuse Pass (Highway 123) and Chinook Pass (Highway 410 to/from Eastern Washington) are now open.  So now you can explore Mt. Rainier National Park from “our” side.

Here are some of our favorite early spring places to explore in Mt. Rainier National Park:

  • Grove of the Patriarchs:  This is, hands down, our favorite springtime trail. The Grove of the Patriarchs is a stand of 1000 year old trees on an island in the Ohanapecosh River.  They’ve managed to survive forest fires through the years and it’s hard to believe that they were alive when the Magna Carta was signed.  This short trail is great for all ages, and kids will love going across the suspension bridge!  Click here.
  • Silver Falls:In the spring, you’ll hear this waterfall long before you see it.  Silver Falls is the largest volume waterfall in Mt. Rainier National Park, and the springtime snow melt makes it a sight to behold.  You can either hike to Silver Falls from the same parking lot as the Grove of the Patriarchs (about a mile roundtrip) or take a short .3 mile (each way) hike from Highway 123.  Click here.
  • Eastside Trail:  Although you might find a patch or two of snow, this trail is virtually snow free. It has miles and miles of gorgeous waterfalls, bridges and forest trails.  You can actually start at the small trailhead near Deer Creek and hike its entire 11-mile length (one way), or just hike a small section of it and turn around when you get tired.  Gorgeous!
  • Crystal Lakes Trail and Shriner Peak Trail:  The trailhead for Crystal Lakes is just about 5 miles from here, while the trailhead for Shriner Peak is on the other side of Cayuse Pass.  What they have in common?  Lots of switchbacks, snow towards the top and gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier li>
  • Chinook Pass/Tipsoo Lake:  This is our favorite area to snowshoe in the spring, and the area past the pedestrian overpass is fun for spring sledding.  (Note that sledding is not allowed around Tipsoo Lake since it’s part of the National Park.).

Other Early Road Openings!  The Sunrise road to the White River Campground (half way up) is scheduled to open May 1—giving you access to the Glacier Basin, Summerland, Owyhigh Lakes & Emmons Moraine Trails.

The road to the very top of Sunrise is scheduled to open June 5, opening up the great views and hiking at the top.  See our Summer Mt. Rainier page for descriptions of the various hikes from Sunrise. 

The Sunrise Day Lodge and Visitor Center are then scheduled to open June 27. 

AND DON’T FORGET:  One of the things we like most about our side of the Park is the fact that this whole area is either National Forest or National Park.  So the topography, flora and fauna are similar no matter where you go.  Someone just drew an arbitrary line, and designated one side National Forest and one side National Park!  So be sure to check with us for some other great springtime adventures! 


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