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

Topic: mount rainier national park

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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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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

Madison Creek Falls is at the entrance to Olympic National Park near Port Angeles. (photo by Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times) 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…

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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

A historic motorcoach travels the road to Mount Rainier, where construction will soon cause traffic delays. (photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times) 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…

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

January 14, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Mount Rainier’s snow-play area opens this weekend

Snow-sliding at Mount Rainier has entertained generations. The popular snow play area at Paradise opens this weekend. (Mike Siegel photo / Seattle Times archives) 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,…

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

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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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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Comments | Topics: mount rainier national park, national parks, olympic national park

October 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Recreation, economic blues as federal lands stay closed

 

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park's Elwha  Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown.

At Olympic National Park, a gate blocks access to the park’s Elwha Valley near Port Angeles. Park roads are closed because of the federal government shutdown. (AP/Keith Thorpe)

 

Washington’s national-park  gems — Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades — remain closed, thanks to the federal shutdown. Locals can, with some effort and confusion, figure out other places to go for scenic drives, hikes and other recreation.

But for out-of-state and foreign visitors, the national-park closures are ruining long-planned trips and have local businesses near the parks worried about lingering economic impacts.

“People come from China, Germany, everywhere to see Mount Rainier,” said

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Comments | More in federal shutdown, national parks, Northwest, U.S. Forest Service | Topics: federal lands shutown, mount rainier national park, Mount St. Helens

October 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Recreation, economic blows for state as national parks close

You can't go to Mount Rainier National Park, thanks to the government shutdown which has closed national parks in Washington and throughout the country. (Elaine Thompson/AP photo)

You can’t go to Mount Rainier National Park, thanks to the government shutdown which has closed national parks in Washington state  and throughout the country. (Elaine Thompson/AP photo)

With national parks now closed because of the government shutdown, some of Washington state’s most popular scenic drives and outdoor recreation areas are off-limits to the public. And for communities around the parks it’s an economic body-blow with hotels, restaurants, shops and tour companies losing business.

“Our fall shoulder season is huge – usually,” said Mary Brelsford of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau.  And in Mount Rainier National Park alone, there

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Comments | Topics: government shutdown, mount rainier national park, olympic national park

August 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM

After sampling the Wonderland Trail, we’re hungry for more

A hiker enters Spray Park on an alternate spur of the Wonderland Trail, with Mount Rainier in the background. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

Entering Spray Park on an alternate spur of the Wonderland Trail, with Mount Rainier in the background. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

I just returned from a five-day backpack on the northern tier of Mount Rainier’s Wonderland Trail and I’m here to report: You can do just a section of the famed trail — not the whole 90+ miles — and still have a wonderful time communing with our mountain.

You also don’t have to set any speed records to come away with a great sense of accomplishment — not to mention a big, goofy smile on your face.

I went with my 21-year-old daughter, with whom I’ve been traveling the world for years, and this ended up near the top of our best-trips-ever list.

She had mentioned a couple years back a captivation with hiking the Wonderland, the famed loop route around Washington’s iconic peak. But it’s been a while since I’ve backpacked multiple nights, and the Wonderland is known as a challenging up-and-down grind. Plus, there was the daunting logistical challenge of finding two weeks or so in which to do it — in both of our busy schedules — along with all the planning and food caching and permitting required.

So I took a look at doing it in sections. The mountain’s less-visited north side — including the Spray Park alternate route, with what’s reputed to be some of the national park’s most spectacular scenery — sounded like a good starter.

I researched it and proposed a 24-mile, four-night trip, spread across four different trailside camps, that wouldn’t wear us out and would give

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Trip reports | Topics: mount rainier, mount rainier national park, Spray Park

August 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Washington’s national parks in top 20 in new ranking

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America's 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Kayakers paddle in the deep, turquoise waters of Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, which rates No. 8 in a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

In a new ranking of America’s 59 national parks, Washington’s three national parks all fall in the top 20.

Olympic National Park is ranked No. 8, North Cascades National Park is ranked No. 14, and Mount Rainier National Park comes in at No. 18.

To come up with the ranking, The Active Times website, oriented to the outdoors and adventure, used three criteria: biodiversity, range of visitor activities and the opinions of an expert panel.

The panel of experts included 17 writers, landscape photographers and travel professionals who write about and study national parks and spend much more time there than the average person. Among those who helped out were Kurt Repanshek, editor of National Parks Traveler, Michael Joseph Oswald, author of “Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 58 National Parks, and nature photographer QT Luoung, who’s captured every park on his large format camera and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Recently departed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also weighed in.

Here’s the top 20 in the ranking:

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Comments | More in national parks, Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: best national parks, mount rainier national park, national parks

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