Seattle/Mt. Rainier

Old Apr 4th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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Seattle/Mt. Rainier

I looking to plan a trip to Seattle in the early fall, and want to include a visit to Mt. Rainier. I know the two locations are several hours apart, so I want to figure out the best way to do this.

Is there any decent lodging near the park, or would it be better to stay in Seattle and do the long drive? My biggest concern is that we won't have enough time to see the entire park in one day, and then we'd need to drive 2.5 hours again on a second day.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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Mt Rainier can be done as a day trip but particularly if you like to hike, an overnight there would be great. Paradise Lodge would be the place to stay if you don't mind historic park lodges--it's reopening this May after being closed for renovation but from what I've read it sounds like they haven't really done much to the rooms themselves so they will still be pretty basic. But the location up at Paradise can't be beat.

There are also a number of places in Ashford--Wellspring is my favorite of those. It's a small collection of cabins that originally started out as a spa for hikers (massage and hot tubs).
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Staying at Paradise is really nice. As NWW said, the rooms are small and very basic, but the location is superb. and if you spend an overnight, you have a better chance of actually seeing the mountain. We stayed 2 nights in September a couple of years ago. We didn't see the mountain peak for 2 straight days, it was hidden in clouds. The morning we were packing up to leave, finally there was a break in the clouds and the peak of Mount Ranier appeared in a hole in the clouds.

I would consider staying at the other National park lodge as well. It's lower down the mountain, and perhaps even more basic, but still a very good location if you can't get a room at Paradise.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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Agree about staying at Paradise. In fact, I plan on staying there again in the fall as that's a great time to be there. It's basic, but what a fabulous setting and the restaurant was surprisingly decent.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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Two problems in visiting Mt. Rainier are that the drive there is not as scenic as one would hope, and it is not as thrilling a trip on a day when the mountain is shrouded in clouds.

Therefore, if you have the option to go on a clear day, it is possible to see the park in one day, including Sunrise and Paradise. It's a long day, but it is a treat on a clear day.

It would be especially worthwhile to stay overnight if you want to see Mt. Saint Helens. If you opt to do this, I suggest that on the second day you visit the east side of Mt Saint Helens taking WA 25 out of Randle. Return to Seattle on WA 12 and I-5.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Mt. Rainier is absolutely stunning. I've been 3 times. It's the place we chose to scatter my dad's ashes, and the place my husband proposed marriage (separate trips of course!). Do it, you won't regret the visit. All my visits have been in August, with great weather.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Paradise Lodge is the place...try to get a room there. Beautiful in the evenings and mornings. We're going back this summer for the third time since we've lived in Seattle.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Longmire is the NPS Lodge further down the hill from Paradise Lodge. It is definitely worth staying in if you can't get into Paradise Lodge. The location is quite good.

Driving back and forth twice from Seattle would be highly undesirable.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Following advice from posters here, we did Mt Rainier as a day trip from Seattle on one of those glorious, clear days in mid-September 2006. It was simply spectacular! We arrived about Noon and were off the mountain before dark. We covered the entire loop around, made plenty of stops for walks and/or photos, and had lunch at Paradise Lodge. It was a long day but we did not feel rushed. Our hotel was not far from the airport and the drive to/from was not that bad--not scenic, but not a lot of traffic on a Sunday--took about 2 hours each way. Enjoy your trip!
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