Sunrise at Mt. Rainier but no need to get up early for I speak of the Sunrise side of the Mountain and not the time of day! I hope you are not tired of Mt Rainier but the 4th of July proved a perfect time to visit again while others swarmed more local parks below for firework displays. This may have been one of our best trips ever, as we covered more of the Park in a single day, enjoying 3 short but amazing hikes and incredible views of the mountain from all sides.
Normally we take the southwest entrance at Longmire into the National Park as it’s open year round. But this time we entered on the northeast side at the White River entrance headed for Sunrise, and it turns out, many new vistas!
We got our first surprise at an overlook where we had great views of the lesser known, but equally beautiful Mt. Adams. The poor thing came up short as the second highest mountain in the state at 12,281 feet and so lives in the shadow of its more famous neighbor. It’s not easy being number 2. Still isn’t it a beauty?
We arrived at the Sunrise Visitor Center at 6,400 feet, the highest point in the Park reachable by car. Here we found close up views of Emmons Glacier, the largest American glacier outside of Alaska, and source of the White River.
Of the many hikes available in the area we chose the 2 mile Silver Forest Trail, with continuous views of the mountain and meadows full of wildflowers, all under brilliant sunshine. It didn’t seem fair to get so much for so little effort!
After lunch we headed down towards Stevens Canyon and the Grove of the Patriarchs for an easy hike through old growth forest. The trail took us along the Ohanapecosh River and across a suspension bridge (one at a time, according to the sign.)
After a short walk on the other side, we were in an island of ancient Western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, and Western hemlock, some of them, a thousand years old. We walked quietly among these giants, marveling at their size and beauty.
After leaving the trail, we continued on Stevens Canyon Road, stopping by Box Canyon and beautiful Reflection Lakes. But this is running long so I will save that for Part 2 of my 4th of July Rainier adventures.
See you soon.