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Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

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Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

We'll be at Rainier in Mid-July for approx. 13 days. We especially like higher alpine trails/destinations and are primarily interested in good day hikes. Our avg daily hikes range between 6-10 and 10-15 miles. We are also considering North Cascades as an alternative. Looking for suggestions on best hikes? Thanks.

Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

With 13 days you don't need to do one or another--that's plenty of time for both! We've had quite a bit of chat on North Cascades and Rainier hikes here in the past year--have you seen any of those threads?

Fortaleza, CE
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2. Re: Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

Given your interests, I'd stay at the Paradise Lodge in Rainier, but need to make reservations early, and don't get your hopes up regarding fancy accommodations. We spent Fourth of July there about 3 years ago, and had snow all around us the whole time. Had to go to lower elevations for short hikes (though several groups were hiking to the summit of Mt. Rainier every day, even when there was thick fog from low clouds). Sunrise area, which we just visited on the way out, was spectacular. We stayed at Lake Quinault Lodge on the edge of Olympic NP on another visit. Quite liked it. Took a tour there, and also visited nearby beaches and the Hoh Rainforest. Mot Alpine-like scenery was at Hurricane Ridge, which is worth visiting, though the area below (Port Angeles) wasn't my favorite, and IMHO the scenery at HR doesn't compare at Paradise (where you are at the high snowy peaks).

Edited: 06 February 2014, 18:38
Yelm, Washington
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3. Re: Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

Sutter is correct, you will most likely encounter snow in mid July, esp at the higher alpine trails. They will most likely be open but may be snow covered - at least that has been my experience of living on the south side of the mountain for the past 15 years. Still very much worth the trip - be sure and visit some of the less busy trails that will give you great views of the mountain, Gobblers Knob and Glacier View/Lake Christine (actually just outside the park). Indian Henrys Hunting Ground from the Westside Road via the Tahoma Creek trail is a fantastic hike and includes a 200ft long 180ft high suspension bridge that sees very little traffic. Another great view worth the drive/hike is from High Rock lookout just south of the park.

Mukilteo, Washington
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4. Re: Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

With 13-days you could hit all three national parks in Washington (Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades).

The Mountaineers publish hiking guides written by Ira Spring for Rainier and North Cascades (100 Hikes in North Cascades, 50 Hikes in Rainier). They are great references. In the Olympics the park service website has good trail descriptions.

Some easily accessible day hike recommendations:

Rainier: Spray Park out of Mowich Lake, Glacier Basin out of White River campground, Summerland out of White River Road.

North Cascades: Cascade Pass from hwy 20,. Lake Ann, & Skyline Divide from Hwy 542 out of Bellingham.

Olympic: Rialto Beach past Hole-in-the-Wall, 3rd Beach south along beaches, multiple hikes out of Lake Quinault.

5. Re: Mt Rainier and Olympic Parks

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