I only spent a rainy afternoon in Mount Rainer, pretty much driving through, so don’t have a lot to say about it. It deserves more time, but I was driving north from Oregon to Bellingham, Washington, and it was essentially a short detour.
I got there a bit after noon, paid $30 to enter, then stopped at the Nisqually Ranger Station to get a map of the trails and talk with a ranger. There are no trails for pets in the park, so Boo stayed in the car all afternoon. I drove the road to Paradise, highway 706, stopping at a few pull outs for views of the mountain. Most of the afternoon however the mountain was hidden in clouds. I stopped and did the short, easy Trail of the Shadows. I stopped at the Christine Falls viewpoint, for the very short trail to the falls. Pets are allowed on the road so I took Boo along for this walk.
I made it to Paradise and the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center. I walked Boo here around the visitor center and just around the viewpoints and parking lot to allow him out of the car. Then I returned him to the car and did a few short trails around the area. There are some nice, fairly easy trails to good viewpoints and waterfalls. I did the 2 mile walk to Narada Falls and through a gorgeous meadow of wildflowers along the Nisqually Vista Trail. You are on the side of Mount Rainer for all these hikes, so even if not taking long hikes, you are at a fairly good elevation. Just be prepared. Wear good shoes, not flip flops, and have an extra layer.
After about an hour or so at the visitor center, I continued along the main road through Stevens Canyon towards the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. I stopped very briefly at the Grove of the Patriarchs then headed north on 123, then taking 410 north out of the park towards Seattle. Fortunately, during the drive out, the skies cleared and I had some great views of the mountain and all the glaciers before leaving the park at the north entrance.
I was going to spend a couple days in Seattle, but after driving through the city for about an hour and not really finding anywhere even to park briefly, I decided to keep heading north. I needed to eventually get to Bellingham to meet up with my daughter and son-in-law. They are returning from their month-long visit to Alaska, visiting all seven of the national parks there. We have friends in Bellingham, where they left their dog, Luca, while they were in Alaska. If you want to read all about their adventures see: Not So Junior Ranger