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Paradise or Sunrise?

Munich, Germany
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96 posts
20 reviews
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Paradise or Sunrise?

Hi, with the connecting road (Cayuse Pass) closed, it's probably an either one or the other, for I would like to go hiking and don't want to spend the whole day in the car... Which area is best for some day hikes / half day hikes? (I'll be there in September)

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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18,001 posts
60 reviews
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1. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Just hiked Sunrise. Spring flowers were lovely. Higher elevation than Paradise. Also, generally seems to be less crowded than Paradise. Both are beautiful.

Mesa, Arizona
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163 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

I can't vouch for Sunrise, but I was up at Paradise this weekend with my mom & brother, and it was gorgeous. There are a bunch of trails there that would make good dayhikes and half-day hikes. The parking is a bit crap due to all the construction on the new visitor center, but not as bad as some reports make it out. We arrived around 9:30 on a Saturday and there was still plenty of parking left, if you don't mind a healthy walk to the old visitor center. The snack bar/restaurant has s limited menu, so bring your own picnic.

Coeur d Alene, Idaho
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365 posts
40 reviews
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3. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Also just back from Sunrise, as mentioned wild flowers are out, numerous short to long day hikes in the area, you may want to check National Park Service web site for how long the snack bar/gift will be shop open along with visitors center (smaller than the old Paradise visitor center) in September. Biggest difference is no construction at Sunrise.

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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2,546 posts
128 reviews
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4. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Since you will probably be coming from the Seattle area, I would suggest Paradise, even though you have to put up with the construction. You can take Hwy 7 from Puyallup and reach the Nisqually entrance to the park. There are a number of trails around the Longmire area (Rampart Ridge is a good half day hike) as well as numerous ones at Paradise. (Panorama Point trail is a good one--you can do a loop trip on it)

Also, it appears from the National Park website that the road thru the park from Paradise to Ohanapecosh is open. There are some interesting trails, both long and short along this road. Box Canyon of the Cowlitz, and several others at Ohanapecosh.

Check the park website for current conditions of trails, because many were damaged during last winters storms and floods and some are not open.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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18,001 posts
60 reviews
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5. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Not too much difference between Paradise and Sunrise from Seattle according to Mapquest.

Seattle to Paradise

Total Est. Time: 2 hours, 27 minutes

Total Est. Distance: 104.19 miles

Seattle to Sunrise

Total Est. Time: 2 hours, 29 minutes

Total Est. Distance: 94.54 miles

Seattle, Washington
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78 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Sunrise is always less crowded and is a little closer to the mountain than Paradise. Assuming clouds are cooperating, this can provide a closer view of the glaciers. All the hikes out of Sunrise are nice. I recommend the Mt. Freemont Lookout or Burroughs hikes. Some have no views of the mountain, tho. You might want to avoid those. There is a visitor center at Sunrise, but it isn't as "glorious" as the Paradise one, which I understand is under construction. Check either center no matter where you decide to go because the rangers will have maps of nearby day hikes and you can decide there. Also, if you don't go all the way to the visitor center at Sunrise, stopping along the road (early because parking can be limited) and doing the Summerland hike up to the camping area is wonderful and includes views of Fryingpan River, wildflowers, the Mountain, little Tahoma, and is part of the Wonderland Trail which (before recent storms anyway) encircled the moutain. It's one of my favorites. Check the national park website for trail conditions and details about your chosen trip. There has been alot of recent damage to the park due to a nasty winter. Have a good time

Munich, Germany
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96 posts
20 reviews
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7. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Thanks everyone!

Can't wait to leave (four more weeks of work to go...)

Seattle, Washington
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1,147 posts
27 reviews
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8. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Just back from Sunrise, and can't imagine a more gorgeous day or a more spectacular view of Rainier and the surrounding Cascades. Not an expert (have visited Rainier only 3 times, with this the first where the summit was actually visible), but I'd think the Sunrise area would be the more likely to have a clear view due to the prevailing winds/weather.

Regardless, although the visitors center is small, the trails from this area are diverse, plentiful, and very interesting - some of the most interesting are half-day or less. The views on the way up to the visitors center are excellent as well.

It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the visitors center from Auburn - a very easy drive.

Seattle area
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1,525 posts
15 reviews
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9. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

IMHO, to me, the drive to Sunrise is more attractive tand enjoyable than taking the Hwy. 7 route to Paradise...

Seattle, Washington
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78 posts
6 reviews
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10. Re: Paradise or Sunrise?

Count me in the Sunrise Fan Club- offer Burroughs and Freemont Lookout to anyone returning there looking for a hike recommendation.