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Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

Washington DC...
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Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

We are in Vancouver, BC right now. Because of a family emergency, we had to cancel our plans to go to North Cascades for 2 nights. We feel we need to be in Seattle area to be closer to reliable cell phone service. ( Note: the emergency is subsiding, just need to be in some contact). Looks like we can go to Rainier after all. We don't mind the long drive from Seattle/Tacoma area, but have no idea where to stay. Prefer not to stay in the middle of Seattle; we were thinking of finding a hotel room closer to Tacoma to put us somewhat closer to Rainier. Any suggestions for a last minute reservations?

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

You'll probably have the most choice and best prices around Sea-Tac airport. From the airport you can hop on I-5 southbound or I-405 eastbound to SR 167 from which Mount Rainier is easy. Figure around 2 1/2 hours each way to Paradise from the airport vicinity, 2 hours from central Tacoma (but not many hotels there.)

Seattle, Wa
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2. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

I'd stay a bit closer to the mountain, especially if you are planning on two nights. No sense dealing with metro area traffic twice a day. Puyallup is one option; it's still a bit of a drive (~1 hour) to the mountain. Enumclaw is another, though I'm not sure how many lodging options are there. The good thing about those locations is that it's far enough from the park that you can decide at the last minute what part of the park to visit--you can easily get to either the Longmire or NE entrance from there. You might try Ashford, right outside the park, too--I'd be very surprised if you didn't have cell service there, though I'd confirm with the individual lodging.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

Thanks to both for messaging so quickly. I think we will stay near SeaTac and do the longer drive so we have the option of going into the city at some point. We are trying to salvage some of this vacation with something awe-inspiring. Cool that we could see Rainier from the Vancouver BC ferry! Have not researched Rainier NP. Looks like Paradise is the visitors center to go to, right? Will there be map guides for short (1-3. ) miles hikes /walks near that center?

Seattle, Wa
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4. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

Paradise is one visitor center area--by far the most crowded one. You need to arrive fairly early to get parking. Sunrise is less crowded and equally if not more spectacular. Paradise does have more of the easy walks you're looking for, although Sunrise does have some (Sourdough Ridge, for example).

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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5. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

You know what your needs are, but if you have two nights you need lodging, I would spend them both near the airport. Lots of concrete and not much else.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

Christy1, we took your suggestion, and will be staying at Puyallap after spending the day at Rainier so we will have a shorter drive back. How long a drive is it between the Sunrise and Paradise visitor centers?

Seattle, Wa
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7. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

It's still a couple hours: an hour to the park, then an hour to the VC (at either Sunrise or Paradise). You don't save as much time over Seatac add I'd thought (I just mapped it).

One option I forgot about-Crystal Mountain has cell service and a variety of lodging, and is just outside the park boundary.

seattle
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8. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

Just for info: the mountain you saw from the Vancouver ferry was more likely Mount Baker, not Mount Rainier. Hope you had a lovely time visiting the latter

Green Valley...
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9. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

SeattleSophie is correct, that was Mt. Baker. The last week has been marvelously clear. If it continues, both mountains, Baker and, to the south, Rainier, will be, as we say here, "out". As you approach the latter, it'll "fill your windshield" from some points on your drive there. It will be, indeed, awe inspiring.

The park website is full of good information if you've not had a chance to read it. Here's the selection on the home page, View Map, an interactive map, showing mileages between major points in the park.

http://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm

Washington DC...
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10. Re: Change of plans-Seattle and Rainier

There was a naturalist on the ferr (new thing to entertain the riders), baker was the larger mountain, but you could see Rainier behind in the distance. Thanks for everyone's input. I think we are saving this trip!