We went to Mt. Rainier in mid-June, and there was still 12 feet of snow pack up at Paradise Lodge. The road up to the lodge and the parking lot were completely cleared, and the weather was excellent, although one cannot count on this! We were coming from far and ended up driving up to the lodge in the dark, which is NOT a good idea: it's a very curvy road, and we were nearly stopped by fog.
The Paradise Inn is one of those wonderful classic old-style national parks lodges. The lobby is just splendid. A lovely balcony full of nifty tables and desks overhangs the lobby, great for a bit of cozy solitude. There are huge hand-painted barrel-shaped lampshades hanging over the lobby, a really unique touch. The lodge serves free tea and dainty little cakes each afternoon. The gift shop is great. The restaurant is very good and not over-priced. We especially enjoyed the breakfast buffet!
Not sure if they offer it every year, but we got a "spring special" rate of 2 nights for the price of one, so you might want to look out for this: it really made our stay affordable. Our unit consisted of a bathroom and 2 bedrooms: One with a double bed, and one with 2 twin beds, perfect for our family of 4. The room seemed a little old, with some peeling paint in the bathroom, but who cares!! This is about charm and LOCATION! The beds were very comfy with down pillows and comforters.
Please note that we did not receive accurate information about hiking in the Paradise area until we visited the national park visitor center up at Paradise. (The staff at Paradise Inn were not well-informed about hiking conditions) All hiking trails were snowed in at this altitude, but it turned out that we were able to hike just fine on top of the compacted 12 feet of snow pack with just hiking boots: Snow shoes were not necessary (but our boots did get wet). We will remember the hike to Panorama Point for the rest of our lives! The steep 1400 foot slippery climb was a fun challenge for us and for our kids, ages 9 and 13. Even if it's warm out, bring ski gloves so your hands don't freeze from falling down a lot! Really take seriously the advice to wear sunscreen: we got pretty bad burns on the few spots we missed, don't forget ears and even nostrils (the snow reflects the sun so you receive burning rays from both the sky and the ground). Hats with brims all around and sunglasses are a good idea. The snow is blindingly bright up there. This place was the highpoint of our trip! Enjoy!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built in 1916 and designated as one of the "Great Lodges of the West" this historic guest lodge sits in the shadow of Mount Rainier surrounded by mountain meadows lush with wildflowers. Miles of hiking trails just outside the front door lead to adventures in all directions and offer panoramic views of glaciers and waterfalls. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Paradise Hotel Mount Rainier National Park
- Paradise Inn Washington