Grove of the Patriarchs

Saturday, June 04, 2011

While we were at Silver Falls (see the blog article in this section), we decided to check out the Grove of the Patriarchs—always one of our favorite hikes. 

To many, the Grove of the Patriachs is almost a sacred place, and on a cloudy day, entering the Grove feels almost like entering a cathedral.  It’s hard to comprehend that these trees were around when the Magna Carta was being signed.  To others, the Grove of the Patriarchs is simply a wonderful short (1/2 mile each way) hike that’s good for all ages. Regardless of which camp you fall in, you’ll love it here.

The trail starts off gently from a bathroom and picnic area next to a small parking area just inside the Stevens Canyon entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park.  Take time to read the many interpretive signs.  They’re really well done and you can learn a lot about the old-growth forest. 

After a short walk, you’ll come to a suspension bridge leading across the Ohanapecosh River to an island with the giant trees.  It’s not a scary bridge (like some we’ve been on) and, as you cross, take time to look down into the river.  It’s so clear you can literally make out every rock!

The bridge leads to a boardwalk into the Grove.  It’s easy to do the walk quickly, but try to take time to soak up the magic of this place.  It’s actually fun to lie on your back and look up at the trees.  It literally feels like they are endless.

Another fascinating phenomenon is how these giants, once they fall, act as nurse trees for tons of new growth. And your kids will love the giant root balls from fallen trees that are double, triple or more their size.

As with Silver Falls, this trail is now completely snow-free and it’s in great shape.  Come now before the summer crowds and feel the magic.