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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

Category: national parks
April 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Free days at Mount Rainier, but still winter in Paradise

America’s national parks will be fee-free on April 19 and April 20, including Mount Rainier National Park. (Washington state parks are fee-free on April 19 and on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day) But don’t go rushing up to Paradise, the visitor area at  5,400 feet on Mount Rainier, expecting to take a hike or…

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0 Comments | More in national parks, state parks | Topics: fee-free days, lowland hikes, Mount Baker

March 26, 2014 at 4:12 PM

3 getaways for this weekend, from Long Beach Peninsula to Paradise

So there hasn’t been a lot of “lamb” about this March around Seattle. It’s been mostly a really cranky lion — with almost 5 inches more rain than normal for the month. Need a change of scene? Here are three quick ideas to get you out of town:

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0 Comments | More in List, national parks, Northwest, Parks, snow sports, weekend getaways | Topics: kite flying, kite museum, Long Beach

March 10, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Olympic moves to No. 5 among most-visited national parks

Washington state’s Olympic National Park is No. 5 on a newly issued list of 2013′s most-visited national parks in the United States. The park moved up two notches on the list from the prior year. New statistics from the National Park Service show Olympic park visitors numbered 3,085,340 last year, up from 2,824,908 in 2012. The…

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| Topics: most-visited national parks, mount rainier national park, olympic national park

February 18, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Road work to slow midweek visits to Mount Rainier for months

Planning a weekday snowshoeing expedition to avoid the crowds at Narada Falls? If a midweek trip to Mount Rainier is in your plans, you might want to go soon. After that, your drive could take a half-hour longer each way. Mount Rainier National Park officials announced Tuesday that rehabilitation of 17.6 miles of road between the…

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0 Comments | More in highways, national parks, Northwest, Parks | Topics: mount rainier, mount rainier national park, Paradise road

February 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Free entry to national parks, forests, refuges this weekend

Celebrate this Presidents Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, Feb. 15-17, with a free visit to a national park, national forest or wildlife refuge. All three days are included as fee-free days for 2014 for parks, museums, trails and other facilities operated by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. In Washington, that includes Mount…

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0 Comments | More in Fees, national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: fee-free days, mount rainier, national forests

January 14, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Mount Rainier’s snow-play area opens this weekend

Holiday-weekend revelers, rejoice. It’s time for tubing and sliding at Paradise. The snow-play hill at the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park finally has enough snow to open this Saturday, Jan. 18, according to the park’s Twitter feed. And there’s a bonus: Entry to the park is free on Monday, Jan. 20, in honor of…

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0 Comments | More in national parks, Parks, snow sports, weekend getaways | Topics: mount rainier national park, paradise, sledding area

January 7, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Low snow stymies snowshoers, Sno-Park users and sledders — but there’s hope

Will the snow-play hill at Paradise open soon? Even Mount Rainier has less snow than usual this year. (archive photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Here’s what the snow-play hill at Paradise looks like in a normal year. So far this winter, low snow levels have prevented it from opening. But a snowy week could solve that. (photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, 2006)

While the Polar Vortex screws with the rest of the nation, the Pacific Northwest continues the Great Snow Slump of 2013-’14. And it’s not just downhill skiers and the owners of the Summit at Snoqualmie who are tearing their hair out from under the ear flaps of their winter hats. Snowshoers and cross-country skiers, too, are starting to feel picked on because of the lack of snow on many of Washington’s mountains.

For example, The Mountaineers club has been forced to cancel this Saturday’s Winter Trails Day event, an annual free demonstration and tryout of snowshoes at the club’s Snoqualmie Pass campus.

“We have barely any snow at all and we have forecasted rain at Snoqualmie for the coming week and we just don’t have anything to snowshoe on,” bemoaned Tess Wendel, a member services representative for the club. The snowshoe event is part of a national event aimed at encouraging winter recreation.

Likewise, the Washington State Parks Sno-Park program is

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0 Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, snow sports, state parks, State Route 410, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: low snow, paradise, Sno-Parks

December 31, 2013 at 9:41 AM

National park workers offer new-year resolutions

OK, admittedly this is a blatant bit of PR that came in email today for America’s national parks, but it’s also kind of a fun New Year’s reminder of the diversity of folks who work for the National Park Service, which spent a lot of time in the spotlight this past year thanks to October’s…

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0 Comments | More in national parks, Parks | Topics: national parks, new year's resolutions, YouTube

November 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

A winter user’s guide to Mount Rainier National Park

Snowshoers thread through winter woods in Mount Rainier National Park. (archive photo by Ellen M. Banner/The SeattleTimes)

Snowshoers thread through winter woods in Mount Rainier National Park. (archive photo by Ellen M. Banner/The SeattleTimes)

Take a look at the webcam for Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise and you’ll see that snow is starting to pile up at Mount Rainier National Park. As visions of snowshoes dance in park lover’s heads, park staffers are preparing for winter operations and visitors.

“Mount Rainier provides outstanding winter recreation opportunities and has been doing so for over 100 years,”  Park Superintendent Randy King said in an email. “It’s a wonderful time to visit the park and area, provided visitors come well-prepared for the snow and road conditions.  Safe backcountry travel in winter requires an especially high level of preparation, caution, and knowledge.”

The park will transition to winter hours of operation and service on Tuesday, Nov. 12.  Here’s a roundup of what to expect all winter:

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0 Comments | More in national parks, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: mount rainier, mount rainier national park, Mount Rainier winter

October 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Washington’s national parks happy to reopen (with sparkling fall colors)

This photo of Mount Rainier was posted Thursday on the national park's Twtiter feed with the note, "What a beautiful morning to welcome us back to Mount Rainier!" (photo courtesy of @MountRainierNPS)

This photo of Mount Rainier was posted Thursday on the national park’s Twitter feed with the note, “What a beautiful morning to welcome us back to Mount Rainier!” (photo courtesy of @MountRainierNPS)

“When I put the flag up today it felt so good,” said Ranger Maureen McLean at Mount Rainier National Park, as Rainier and Washington’s other national parks reopened Thursday.

They were among hundreds of parks,  monuments and historic sites across the nation reopening after the 16-day government shutdown.

Park gates and some visitor centers are open, but it might be a couple days before all is again running smoothly. At Rainier:

  • Gates were open Thursday morning, with the normal $15 per vehicle admission fee. Paradise and Stevens Canyon roads are
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0 Comments | Topics: mount rainier national park, national parks, olympic national park

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