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Snow conditions, trails etc. Rainier, Washington Cascades state parks

Snow conditions, trails etc. Rainier, Washington Cascades state parks

Jun 27th, 2006, 12:00 PM
  #1  
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Snow conditions, trails etc. Rainier, Washington Cascades state parks

As part of my trip planning in another post, I'm looking at parks we can visit for sightseeing, day hikes and enjoying nature outside of Seattle as we head back east--trip will be in the next week or two.

With the large snowfall this year, Paradise construction, and road closures noted on the NPS website, I am fearful of crowds and traffic at Mt Rainier. Any information or advice?

If we go to Rainier I was looking at using 410 to exit east to Yakima, but from the website and AAA I think part of that route overlaps with 123 that is closed.

So, I am looking at the state parks along I-90 and Hwy 2 as alternates. Iron Horse, Lake Easton, Olallie, Wallace Falls...any experience?

Thanks for the help.
Kay2 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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Kay2---if you want to go via Mt. Rainier, you don't need to go on 123 at all---go clockwise around the east side of the mountain (via Sunrise rather than Paradise) and you'll be on Hwy. 410 all the way. That highway is completely open. Hwy. 123 is expected to open June 30, if you want to go the other route.

Hwy. 2 is not a good alternate---it gets very crowded with truck and RV's, and is not as scenic. Those parks you mention---Wallace Falls, Iron Horse, etc. are fine for winter and early season hiking, but they are not nearly as scenic, mountain-wise, as Rainier or Highway 20, the North Cascades highway. If you want a "mountain fix", I'd choose either of those.

If you want to check hiking conditions (snow, etc.) on specific trails, go to www.wta.org and choose "trip reports', then "freshest reports". They are in order by date. A friend of mine bicycled up to Paradise on Mt. Rainier last weekend; the road and parking lots are totally clear, but there is still patchy snow around the meadows. With the heat we are having this week, it will melt pretty quickly.
enzian is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Hwy 123 is supposed to be open by June 30th, so as long as you check the WSDOT website and that has happened, going to Sunrise on Rainier via 410, then onto Yakima (that is what you're doing, right?) is a great idea. I agree that the other hikes you mentioned don't rank high on the scenery meter.

If you still wanted something on 1-90 or Hwy 2, there will be other hikes that you can do that are much more scenic. I could probably recommend some if I know how strenuous of a hike you want. These hikes won't have the types of great roads and visitor's facilities you'll find in Rainier, of course, but there are some very nice ones that should be relatively snowfree along these highways.
christy1 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 03:33 PM
  #4  
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Thanks, Christy.
Getting into the mountains and the woods is my husband's payment to me to accompany him on his family business, so I have to fit it in around his needs and remember it's not primarily a hiking vacation for us.

That said, I'm looking for short walks to day hikes (anywhere from 2-8 miles RT), easy to moderate, that we can handle with our lightweight trailrunners and little equipment or supplies. The purpose is mainly to enjoy the mountains, streams, get away from the family and stress.

I'd like to have some choices ready if we have a free day for a trip from Seattle, an extra day or two on the return to Montana, etc. so when the opportunity arises when I'm out in Washington I will be ready.

When we were at Rainier before we stayed a couple of nights at Paradise, probably late summer or early fall. The two walks I remember is a trail uphill from Paradise that we took until the snow was getting heavy and a circular route around a lake, checking for reflection of the mountain for photographs. We flew into Seattle and toured around the area that time, so didn't go up I-90 at all. I think I'll stay away from Hwy 2.
Kay2 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 08:17 PM
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If you are looking for easy-access dayhikes from seattle, with alpine scenery, a couple of ones on the I-90 corridor (one hour or less from Seattle) come to mind:

Lake Annette, about 6 miles RT just off I-90 at exit 47.

Commonwealth Basin, an alternate off the Pacific Crest Trail just off I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass.

If you are willing to drive more than an hour from Seattle, ther are tons of hikes that Christy1 and/or I could suggest; just need to know if that interests you.

If you have an extra day or 2 on your way to Montana, you need to choose a route before good suggestions can be made. Going via Mt. Rainier is a good option, and therr is very nice hiking there, as you know. The lodge at Paradise is closed for renovations, but there are lots of other places to stay on that route. Highway 20 through the North Cascades is an equally beautiful option. But it's your call---then the hike suggestions will follow.
enzian is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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The hard thing about this time of year is that the snow is still melting. As of today there is still a bunch of snow on a lot of trails, but in two weeks things could be really different. But, all of these below should be at least mostly snowfree.

I'd still recommend Sunrise if you want to stop somewhere on your drive across the state. There will be some snow but the rangers at the visitor's center will point you in the right direction. Off I-90, Snow Lake (take the Alpental exit, go back under the freeway, park at the end of the road in the ski area, find the trailhead on the south side) is a very pretty 6 mile rt hike. Just don't go on a weekend-this is one of the most popular hikes in the state. It's an easy day hike from Seattle. For a shorter hike in that same area, start at Denny Creek and walk to the "slippery slabs," or further up as far as you want (views and a big waterfall a mile or so further). You could combine this with nearby Franklin Falls, a very short hike. More:
http://tinyurl.com/lzxs6
http://tinyurl.com/ql4mw

The best snow free day hike from Seattle I'd recommend right now is Carbon Glacier (6 miles rt), in the NW corner of Mt Rainier NP. See the park's website for more info. Lake 22 is another popular, easy and pretty trail about an hour from the city.
http://tinyurl.com/otnxt

You might also consider some in-city trails:
http://tinyurl.com/plaf2
christy1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2006, 01:43 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for all the help. I'll research these suggestions.
Kay2 is offline  

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