Seattle, Mt. Rainier & ONP

Old Apr 17th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Seattle, Mt. Rainier & ONP

I'm planning a late summer trip 8 or 9 day to Seattle, Mt. Rainier & Olympic National Park and hope you can help me figure out the best order. We'll be flying into Seattle. From there, is it best to drive to Mt. Rainier and then to ONP, and back to Seattle or the reverse?

Would love to fit in a visit to Woodinville Wine Country (probably Ste. Micelle Winery) too.

I'm figuring 2 nights at Lake Crescent, 2 nights at Lake Quinault Lodge, 2 nights at Mt. Rainier (Paradise Inn) (hopefully there'll still be rooms available) and 3 in Seattle.

Wish we could fit in a visit to Cascade Mts. but I think that would be trying to cram too much in.

Any advice on the order of travel or anything else would be great! Everyone always has such great suggestions! Thanks!
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Old Apr 17th, 2005, 08:26 PM
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Since you can make a big loop out of the trip, I really don't think the order matters. If you don't have reservations yet, I'd plan the order around hotel availability.
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Old Apr 17th, 2005, 08:48 PM
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Yeah, I don't think the order matters at all. Strictly speaking, Mt. Rainier is one of the Cascades Mtns. Also, from Woodinville it is only 1 hour (via I-90) to Snoqualmie Pass in the heart of the Cascade Mtns. You could walk around a bit, perhaps stop at Snoqualmie Falls, and be back in less than 3 hrs.

FYI, there are two wineries, across the road from each other in Woodinville, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. As long as you're there, you might want to visit the adjacent Red Hook Brewery. Each of these 3 locations hold lots of summertime events (concerts, movies, fireworks, etc.), so you should check those out - it might affect the order in which you want to do your trip.

Better reserve those rooms ASAP! Those 3 hotels are very popular.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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I'll chime in, ditto above. It's a loop and I don't think the order really matters much. But I would definitely look into hotel reservations right now, because that might change your number of days or order of visit. There are not loads of places to stay out that way and the ones you mention are very popular.

For your 3 nights in Seattle, could include Woodinville wineries quite easily. And at Snoqualmie (mentioned above and only 1 hr. outside town due east) you could go to Snoqualmie Falls. The Salish Lodge there has a spa, restaurant, hotel rooms if you wanted to stay a night out that way.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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If you are going to Olympic and Rainier, I'd skip the Snoqualmie Pass suggestion. As pointed out, Rainier IS in the Cascades, and Snoqualmie Pass is the least scenic part (there's an interstate, ski areas and motels) of the entire chain.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Thanks for your various suggestions. What about stopping at Gig Harbor after leaving ONP, on the way to Mt. Rainier - is that something worthwhile?

If I have to cut back on 1 night, where do you recommend I do that? Here's what I'm planning but I may need to stay one night less:

Fly into Seattle, arriving around noon. Drive straight to Port Angeles. Stay 2 nights.

Drive to Lake Quinnault - stay 2 nights.

Drive to Mt. Rainier - stay 2 nights

Drive to Seattle - stay 3 nights.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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i did a loop that also included visiting lake Chelan (pronounced sh-lan right???) and northern cascades np - took the boat ride to the end of the lake and hiked to some wonderful water falls. i looped from rainer to chelan and then the cascades to the penninsula but i had 13 days. i really enjoyed northern cascades there are some really great trails for hiking, but if you are not into hiking, it is something to save for another time on the way to something else. enjoy
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 07:18 PM
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Justme22 - sounds great but unfortunately, that'll have to be another trip!
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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I'd cut a night at Lake Quinault. That area doesn't hold a ton of appeal for me-I think the other areas of the park (Hurricane Ridge, the coast, the Hoh) are more beautiful and have better hiking.
Also, Gig Harbor is a suburb-it might be a nice place to live but I can't think of why you'd want to visit there.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Thanks christy1.

Does anyone have suggestions of an alternative place to stay in ONP near Port Angeles. Can't seem to get thru to Lake Crescent Lodge (they're closed for the winter and don't answer the phone though the message says they are taking reservations) and I'm afraid to wait too long. Is Log Cabin Resort nice or too many RVs? How about somewhere in Port Angeles? Red Lion Hotel? Others? HELP please!!
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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Hi Travlbug, i would check out Port Townsend before Pt. Angeles. Port Townsend is much nicer, a charming, victorian, artsy community with lots of cute shops, restaurants and mom and pop lodgings. We stayed at Harborview Inn and loved it, spacious and clean with a private balcony overlooking the Harbor. Took a whale watching cruise there too (Capt. Jacks). We did however stay at Lake Crescent Lodge and in Ocean Shores (for Hoh) on the days we explored Olympic NP, so keep trying there, too.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Hey travlbug

My husband and I made this exact trip last year. We chose to do the loop starting with Ranier and ending in Seattle. Partly because I liked the idea of doing the city part last, and well, partly so our stay in Seattle would coincide with the Red Sox playing at Safeco

Anyways, we arrived around noon, and drove direct to MtRanier, where we spent 2 nights at Paradise. unfortunately we had fog, and didn't actually see the mountaintop until the morning we left. The Paradise lodge was "interesting". I'm glad we stayed there, the location is spectacular. BUt keep in mind the lodge is kind of rustic. Rooms are very small, and plain, and you won't want to stay in them. THe great room is kind of nice, we enjoyed hearing a ranger talk about climbing the peak. The restaurant is okay. not great, but not bad either.

We drove from there to ONP, where we stayed on the coast at Kalaloch. I'm sure Quinault is also very nice, but we loved staying right on the coast. THe view from our cabin was spectacular, and it was an easy drive to Hoh.
From there we went to Lake Crescent for 3 nights. Try to stay at the Lodge. This was my favorite of the 3 lodges. the food was by far the best. Lots of places to hike nearby. you'll love it. Even if you can't get a view cabin there, its worth it.

Finally we drove to Seattle (by way of Bainbridge ferry) and stayed for 3 nights at the Alexis hotel. I, too, thought about going to the Cascades or Snoqualmie, but I'm glad we didn't try to squeeze anything more in. It would have been too much driving.

In Seattle definitely do the Underground tour. It was very amusing. We also liked the Experience Music Project, the art museum, and, of course, taking in a baseball game.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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China cat: Thanks for the advice. Did you have to make a reservation on the Bainbridge ferry back to Seattle (we'll be going in reverse).
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Bainbridge ferry doesn't take reservations.
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