- Reviews: 5881
Shriner Peak Backcountry Campground: a room with a view
Shriner Peak Backcountry Campground is one we would have not found if not for the park's very helpful rangers. We had many backcountry trips planned but most were still not open due to heavy snows the previous winter and late snow melt. This small but very scenic campground has only two spots and a simple pit toilet. With so much privacy, the toilet is not enclosed but for those who have used backcountry pit toilets you know that is the best case scenario for odor and flies.
One of the spots has a far better view than the other so try to arrive early. It is beyond the pit toilet area so not as convenient if you have to go in the middle of the night but with Mount Rainier visible from your tent, I don't think you will complain. This was certainly one of the top spots in our six month trip around the US. For a view, there were few better but the site did have its drawbacks.
The main problem with camping on Shriner Peak is lack of water and this is also a drawback of the hike up. The 4.2 mile trail tends to be a bit dusty once you break away from the tree line which happens all to quickly. The initial part of the hike is quite pleasant but once in the sun, you feel every foot of the 3500 you must climb to reach your destination. It's fairly steep and there are no real views till you reach a ridge that tricks you into thinking you have arrived only to drop down again. It does give you a glimpse of the massive Rainer and a boost in much needed energy to continue. You need to carry lots of water as there are no streams en route.
Shriner Viewpoint is gorgeous and there is a small ranger hut though it was unmanned when we were there. I got the impression it's one of the rangers favorite spots in the park and when you see the view, you'll know why. The campground is a bit further down the path towards the pit toilet. There is no water source at the campground so generally people spend just one night.
We lucked out in two ways. First, there were many patches of snow so we could melt it to make meals and for drinking purposes. Also, we did get the better of the two spots which was nice in itself but also the second spot was in a huge patch of snow so we would have been camping on ice if we didn't get the one with the view!
You must have a wilderness permit to camp in Mount Rainier's backcountry. They can be reserved but the park also keeps 30% of them open for walk-ins. You must got to a backcountry ranger station in person the day of or the day before your intended first night of camping. These permits are free but you need to go through the small bit of red tape to get one. The Wilderness Information Centers are located at Longmire and White River. These are well marked on free park maps.
- Reviews: 3290
Take your pick: Washington's Better Campground
There are two small hotels within the Park, both on the south road WA 706 - at Longmire and up at Paradise. Reservations are a must. There are several Park campgrounds scattered about the Park at semi-strategic locations. Otherwise, get a backcountry permit and take a hike.
With backcountry campsites, the views can be pretty darned grand. Bring along some good food and have your friend bring the wine, beer or spirits and you have a great time outlined. If you are camping on the snow or a glacier - remember to bring your Thermarest or other ground pad for your sleeping pad. On this particular outing, I forgot mine. You cannot sleep on the ice, even within your nice warm sleeping bag. Believe me. I have personal experience!
- Reviews: 5881
White River Campground: great cheap scenic spots close to Sunrise
White River Campground is the most convenient one to Sunrise in the northeastern part of the park, just in from the White River Entrance Station. At an elevation of 4400, it is another gem set in dense forest. The 112 spots are nicely spaced and we found ourselves a beauty. It was hard to leave after only one night especially since we had much nicer weather than we had down at the Cougar Rock Campground earlier in our stay. The expansive spot featured a nice flat area for the tent, far from the road and picnic table.
Restrooms are typical National Park fare but after a night on the pit toilet at Shriner Peak, a flush one was a welcomed sight. I guess everything is relative though I must admit to missing the heated seat of the cedar chip bio toilet at Cougar Creek!
At only $12 per night, this is one great value campground and well worth spending at least a night at if you plan to visit Sunrise.
- Reviews: 1
Three Bears Lodge: Closest cabins to Mt. Rainier
We've stayed at Three Bears Lodge three times so far. And this place rocks. It is meticulously thought out in every detail. It has 3 bedrooms plus a loft and sleeps 10 people. they're are very few places that sleep more than 4 or 6 and allow us to bring our kids. It has a great kitchen and very large living space. While many ccabins are decorated in early goodwill, this place has very high quality kitchen equipment, furniture and beds. But what makes it awesome is the forest ambiance. It's surrounded by old cedars and the hot tub sits under them out back. It's a great Rainier cabin, check out www.ThreeBearsLodge.net, we highly recommend it.
It's a block from the entrance to Mt. Rainier National park. sleeps 10, lots of light, spacious, extremely clean. Great hot tub in back, fireplace. it even has XBox.
- Reviews: 91
Mountain View Lodge: Lovely motel in Packwood
We stayed at this wonderful lodge for 4 nights at the end of July 2009 while exploring Mount Rainier National Park. We stayed in Unit 16 which was a corner unit with private entrance. In this unit we had a king bed, kitchen stove top (no oven) - coffee maker - microwave - fridge, private bathroom with tub & shower head - hairdryer, TV and air conditioning. We paid $70 USD per night for this unit, which I think is a great deal.
We enjoyed our stay here very much, it's not a luxurious place to stay but the room was clean and had everything we needed. The bed was very comfortable to sleep in. The bathroom was very clean and looked like it was recently renovated. There were enough pots, pans, utensils to use during our stay. We had clean towels every day. The owners were very helpful and pleasant. The wireless internet connection was very weak in our room, but there was a table set up in the office for guests to use and from here you have a very good connection. I would recommend this place to anybody that wants to stay in Packwood.
Very friendly staff, an outdoor swimming pool, nice big rooms and a great deal for being so close to Mount Rainier National Park.
- Reviews: 2507
Mounthaven Resort Cabins: Rustic Cabins Right Outside Nisqually Entrance
Photos on the walls of the office show the cabins as they appeared in the 1920s, and thus you should be warned that this is a place that has been here for quite a while. The cabins are still very comfortable and better than a campground camp site or state park cabin, but at the same time this also isn't a modern luxury resort either.
Cabins come equipped with a propane wall heater in the main living room, a small kitchen, a small bathroom, a wood stove, a sofa, dining table, and beds. The size and number of beds depend on the cabin, as each cabin is somewhat different. Don't expect there to be a huge amount of space in the bedrooms, as modern bed sizes and the size of bedrooms in the 1920s are two radically different things. In some bedrooms you may have enough space to get around the bed, and that is it.
Cabins come with firewood and a wood stove, and in our case the fire had already been laid in the stove and all that was needed was to light it.
There are also several recreational vehicle parking places on the east side of the facility. However, none of these are pull-through so it is best to have some practice at backing up, especially if you arrive in the dark.
Cost per night is difficult to describe, as it really depends on how many of you there are and what cabin you get. For example, my friend and I got the cabin named Pine, which costs $150 per night ($164.70 including the taxes). We were only two people (she slept in one bedroom and I in another) but under the right circumstances four could be accommodated - a couple in the main bedroom with the single large bed and two more in the bedroom with two separate twin beds.
I'm not sure if one is supposed to wash the dishes when finished in the kitchen or not. My friend and I washed up after we were done (I did the dishes and she dried them) but I didn't find anything in the contract that said that we were supposed to wash them.
It should be noted that the contract does say there will be a $50 charge and / or immediate eviction without refund in the event that there is evidence of pets, smoking, or unregistered guests in the cabins.
The fire in the wood stove got going very well and very quickly once it was lit. However, there was enough water in the air that the fire in the outdoor fire pit outside our cabin did not start very well at all (it is, after all, the second week of October!). As the state had closed the highway past Box Canyon in order to perform maintenance before the snow set in, there wasn't much traffic at all on the highway, especially after dark. It was a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing time spent here.
My friend did have a little trouble with the shower. She is somewhat short, and the shower head is something like 7 or 8 feet off the floor. In this tiny shower stall, it was somewhat hard for her to adjust to the water coming from so far above her.
It got quite hot once the water heater and kitchen stove were going full blast. Opening the kitchen window took a little effort to locate the right spot on which to push the frame of the window in order to open it. It does in fact open, as do many of the windows in the cabins, but it just took a little while to figure out how to get it to open.
The wood stove did let quite a bit of smoke out into the room when the door was opened. The draft seemed to be very good when the door was closed, but it is a fairly modern design that, once heated up and going, recirculates the smoke to be burned again. Opening the door interferes with this circulation pattern and thus puts some smoke into the room. Even with the windows closed this was such a small amount of smoke it was not noticeable once the door to the stove was closed again.
Yet, these are very small things to complain about. Both of us would be very willing to stay here again, especially if we were able to find more people to make the price per person lower. It is only that I wish to warn you that this is no luxury hotel you are booking where everything is absolutely perfect.
As an added bonus, the morning brought some sunlight on the creek right outside our window.
The couple that currently owns and operates the facility will be retiring at the end of this year, and though not officially announced the facility is on the market. I find them to be an absolutely wonderful couple, and full of useful tips and helpful advice about the mountain, its roads, and the park. They will be sorely missed by those who made use of their knowledge and lodging just outside the Nisqually entrance.
Each cabin is a little different. If your conditions allow it (# of guests, etc.), I would suggest staying as far away from the highway as possible. Not that there is that much traffic past the facility at night but even so it is best to be as far away from the artificial noise that is present in the facility.
If you manage to hit the spot when there is less tourist traffic, you can awaken to the sounds of the forest with little people or traffic noise. Peak tourist season brings a lot more traffic on the nearby road these days.
The facility has some modernizations from its original construction, but there are other elements that keep it more rustic in nature. For example, the entrance is very narrow (take note if you are driving a large RV!) and none of the driveways in the facility are paved.
Yet, here you stay right in the forest and may even have some of them wander right into the facility to take a look at you - just as much as you want to look at them.
- Reviews: 13
Mounthaven Resort: Cozy Quarters
Mounthaven is located just outside the park near the Nisqually entrance. We stayed in a small cabin. The kids slept in twin beds up in the loft area.
They provided all the hot chocolate we could desire - and desire I did. I am used to southern climes, so even in June it felt like it was freezing.
- Reviews: 21
White River Campground
My favorite place to camp at Mt. Rainier. Elevation is 4400 feet (1341 m).
Great views of the mountain from the river. Jumping point for many great hikes in the northern side of the park. Near the Sunrise Visitor Center (elevation 6400 feet / 1950 m).
- Reviews: 2750
There are 5 campgrounds in the park, and 564 total campsites: Cougar Rock (southwest corner near Longmire), Ipsut Creek (NW corner, east of Carbon River entrance), Ohanapecosh (SE corner of park., 11 miles from Packwood on hwy 123), Sunshine Point (near Nisqually entrance) and White River (just west of white river entrance). All are on a first come, first serve basis. Sunshine Point and Ipsut Creek are open year round. Fees range from $6-10 per night.
- Reviews: 14
Dick Creek campspot: camp near a glacier
With only 2 sites in this spot, its one of the more isolated areas in the Park. The composting toilet has one of the best views in the park!!! Watch out for the bees though:)
Carbon Glacier is right below and you can here it "moving" throughout the night!
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