This is my first visit of the year to Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington State. As you can see, it is still very much snowbound as one nears the Paradise area. I took this image near Reflection Lakes on the Stevens Canyon Road inside the park. The lakes are still snow and icebound and snow banks along the road are too high to view the lakes. I made the trip especially to do some easy hiking in the lower elevations of the park. A favorite trail of mine is the Grove of the Patriarchs. It is located just inside the park at the east entrance, accessible from Stevens Pass, Hwy. 123. It’s still a good time to visit the park to see all the waterfalls and rushing rivers and creeks that are running full force from the snow melt. The Grove of the Patriarchs Trail runs alongside the Ohanapecosh River. It is running high and is a beautiful, aquamarine color. Here are a few photos I took from the park road bridge, just before the parking area for the trail.
The trail is an easy 1 mile walk great for families. There are some built-in steps in the inclined areas near the beginning of the trail. An added bonus is a restroom near the parking lot. The only precarious area is a wobbly, wooden suspension bridge held up by wires that spans over the fast moving river. Only one person at a time is recommended to cross the bridge. It’s pretty easy to negotiate. Here’s an image.
The bridge takes one to an island in the middle of the river that holds thousand year old trees in an old-growth forest that survived a forest fire. These are giant Cedars and Douglas Firs. The last part of the trail loops back around on raised, wooden boardwalks to help protect this small, precious area. Here are some images I took along the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail.
There are many fine exhibits of giant Cedars in the old-growth forest. Here is an image I took with tourists next to one, just to show how huge these giants are.
As stated earlier, now is a great time to visit the park to see lots of fast flowing waterfalls along the roadside and in the creeks and rivers. Here an example:
Driving on Stevens Canyon Road in the park is a great route to get eye-popping views of the mountain. Always start on this road from the east side of the park to get the best views of the mountain. Here is the only image I was able to get of the mountain before clouds obscured it.
Here’s a shot of the far flank of the mountain.
And, here come the clouds!
That pretty much ended my visit to the park that day. I will probably return next month, when spring blossoms will finally start showing up in the Paradise area of the park.
©Peggy A Thompson