Grove of the Patriarchs Trail#3 in Best Things To Do in Mount Rainier National Park
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This 1-mile loop trail, which is located west of the Stevens Canyon Entrance on the Ohanapecosh River, takes you to an island where 1,000-year-old Douglas fir and western red cedar trees tower over you. Visitors call this a "beautiful loop trail" and say the old growth trees are "amazing." Travelers also said they loved the swinging suspension bridge. Self-guiding signs are posted along the trail.
According to the park service, the Ohanapecosh area, named for a Taidnapam (Upper Cowlitz) Indian habitation site along the river, is thought to mean "standing at the edge," which seems appropriate. The park service also says that the east side of the park is somewhat drier and sunnier than the west side, making it a good destination when Paradise and Longmire are wet and foggy. Ohanapecosh is not open in the winter.
Access to the trail is covered by park admission and a visitor center, a campground and a picnic area are all available on-site. For more information about this trail, visit the Ohanapecosh page on the NPS website.
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Paradise, which is located at an elevation of 5,400 feet, is a great place to start your park visit and where you'll find the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center, the main visitor center for the park. It offers general information, exhibits, a park film, guided ranger programs, a gift store and a cafeteria. In the summer, this area is ideal for wildflower viewing, and in winter, this is the main area for activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing. The historic Paradise Inn, which is usually open from mid-May to early October, is also located in this area, as is the Guide House, where climbers can obtain permits and hiking and backcountry camping information.
Visitors call the area "breathtaking" and "gorgeous," especially in peak wildflower season (July to August). Paradise also gets high marks for its visitor center and ranger programs. The only downside is that since it is so popular, parking can be hard to come by and you may experience long waits, according to some previous visitors.
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