Hiking Paradise, Rainier
The Paradise area of Mount Rainier is easily the most popular area in the National Park. Its got multiple hikes to choose from and lots are easily doable with kids or older family members. You'll get a fantastic view of Mount Rainer on a clear day and still lush forest views if its not clear. Here are the trails we did and our experience!
Fashion first, as always! We checked the weather and it said it was going to be hot (70's) but we expected it to be a little chilly in the morning when we arrived. So I grabbed the Elise Piko Top in black ($30) since its comfy and a lightweight long sleeve top. I paired it with one of our lace bralettes ($30) and wore it off the shoulder. I paired with a pair of shorts and sneakers! Now I actually got really hot so I ended up just wearing my bralett around. Honestly there were lot of girls in sports bras and crop tops, it was just that hot! You can grab these items in store at 116 S Meridian in Puyallup or online with FREE shipping at www.livandrory.com
Mount Rainier is a National Park so you will need a pass to enter. Paradise is about two hours and twenty minutes from JBLM. If you want something closer check out my post about Naches Peak Loop which has beautiful views of Rainier but is only about an hour and 45 minutes away. Military gets the America The Beautiful Pass for free which gets you in to all of the National Parks in the U.S. Day passes into the park are $30. Yearly passes without a discount are $80. Keep in mind, dogs are not allowed on any of the trails in the Naitional Park.
It is a long drive to Paradise. There is a little store on the side of 510 on the way there that we stopped at. It had hiking gear, souvenirs, PNW items, and some really cool Rainier t-shirts and hoodies. They also have a small cafe with coffee, snacks, and grab and go sandwiches and stuff. Great stop for a bathroom break!
Follow directions to the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. This will pull up on apps or google maps. There is parking available here as well as overflow lots a little further down. If you dont arrive early (I highly suggest arriving early) then you'll have to park on the side of road.
The visitor center has a gift shop, a small room of exhibits, picnic tables, a cafe with food options, restrooms, and a lodge.
It also has Park Rangers you can talk to about trails, get maps, and pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for the kiddos. If they fill it out then they can return it to get a badge. This program is FREE! I did it too so its not just for kiddos.
I realize this is a bad photo of the map but you can pick up this map at the visitors center. Here I have highlighted the trails we did. First we did the Alta Vista Trail. This one is listed as moderate on the All Trails App (download this app to get trail details and keep track of where you are on the trail as you go).
It is a short hike, only about 1.8 Miles round trip but it has a 600 foot elevation gain. Basically it is pretty steep. It is more than doable with kids if you take it slow.
The beginning of Alta Vista Trail has a fantastic photo op with Rainier in the background.
Now it is a paved road walking path almost the entire way.
Majority of the easier trails on Paradise are all paved paths so you can do a lot with a stroller. The rest of the trails, if not paved, are gravel. There are plenty of signs that state which trails are which way. They intersect a lot which is why I recommend the All Trails App and a map from the Visitor's Center.
A little over halfway on Alta Vista trail is this viewpoint. There is also a flat spot great for a picnic here. Makes for gorgeous photos and we were so glad it was a clear day, Rainier was beautiful.
Alta Vista is a loop. The top has a great view but is steep going down and is not stroller friendly. So you could do the first part up to this area with a stroller.
We went up first then once you get to a big paved area with benches the trails intersect. This is where we stopped for lunch.
This spot also makes a great photo being so close to Rainier.
There were lots of little chipmunks begging for food. You are not suppose to feed the animals but they hang out picking up crumbs and food that is dropped. They got pretty close to us.
Instead of going all the way back to the visitor's center we went back on the trail until it intersected with the Myrtle Falls Trail.
Myrtle Falls is an easy hike on a paved trail only about a mile from the Visitor's Center. It's technically part of the Skyline Trail but it has it's own signs to point you in the right direction. You don't get a lot of viewing of it though. There is a spot to hike down and youll actually have to stand inside some trees to see the falls.
After you walk down you can walk back up and view the falls from the bridge.
From Myrtle Falls we kept going on the Skyline Trail with the intention of hiking to Sluiskin Falls.
Past Myrtle Falls the trail is all gravel and sections of stairs.
There is another small waterfall which is where we spotted a Marmot hanging out on a rock. They look a lot like beavers.
You'll also hit a part of the trial that you must walk over a tiny waterfall with rocks. This was a fun place to splash around it and cool off.
We always pack our water shoes just in case we come across something like this on a trail.
After you pass the Lakes Trail sign on the right you'll come into a large meadow. It is beautiful in this sot and we actually spotted a black bear off in the distance.
The bear was pretty far away so this isn't the best photo but it was really great to have been able to see one.
We also came across a part of the trail that is next to the creek. This was also a good area to splash around in.
There are plenty of rocks to sit on to take a break, picnic, or let the kids play in the water here.
You actually cannot see Sluiskin Falls from the trail. There is a little walking path to the left. I honestly wouldn't recommend hiking over here just for theses falls, you can only see it from the back.
It was a gorgeous day of hiking and there were plenty of wildflowers.
For more information on visiting Mount Rainier National Park, visit these websites:
You are Beautiful, You are Strong, You are Smart, so Dress like it!
Love, Liv & Rory