Mount Rainier National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • A Few Blooms Linger on in October
    A Few Blooms Linger on in October
    by glabah
  • "Old Man of the Mountain" plus Late...
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  • Still Hanging On, and Colorful Despite October
    Still Hanging On, and Colorful Despite...
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Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Mount Rainier National Park

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    LITTLE TAHOMA

    by mtncorg Written Dec 16, 2003

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    Little Tahoma in morning sunlight, Cathedral Rocks

    Little Tahoma is a huge pyramidal satellite of Mt Rainier standing just to the east. It rises to 11138 ft/2802 m. Best climbed from Summerland to the east or from Paradise, you cross both the Cowlitz and Ingraham Glaciers. It is about 10 hours from Paradise. Rotten rock awaits.

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    • Mountain Climbing

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  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Rampart Ridge Trail

    by chewy3326 Written Nov 19, 2005

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    Mt. Rainier

    From Longmire, this trail leads about 4.4 steep miles up Rampart ridge for relatively good views of Mt. Rainier. The beginning of the trail is steep, though it levels out at the top of the ridge. Later on, the trail is forested. Not as good as trails in Sunrise or Paradise, but a good choice if you have extra time.

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  • chewy3326's Profile Photo

    Carbon Glacier

    by chewy3326 Updated Nov 12, 2005

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    Carbon Glacier

    Most people miss this corner of the park. The Carbon River Road leads from Enumclaw to the Ipsut Creek Campground. From the campground, hike 2 hours and 3.5 miles one-way to the Carbon Glacier. The trail is mainly gravel, and doesn't provide too much shade. You'll cross a suspension bridge, and walk alongside the Carbon River most of the way. The glacier is dirty and isn't the prettiest sight, but the view of the mountain is grand. Also, there are plenty of wildflowers along the trail.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Bear Grass

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 4, 2009

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    bear grass in bloom

    When not in bloom, bear grass goes mostly undetected though Native Americans used its tough blades for weaving baskets. When its incredible flowers appear in light bulb-like clusters atop its long stalks, it is a grand show. Its range is from British Colombia to Northern California, as far east as Wyoming and is something to be on the lookout for if in these areas in spring.

    We were quite surprised by it at Rainer as it was the first time we had seen it and we didn't really know what it was. It was just past its peak time but still very beautiful. A few older women on the Shriner Peak Trail explained what it was to us and remarked that two weeks prior it was truly magnificent.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Mount Adams

    by richiecdisc Written Nov 4, 2009

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    Mount Adams from road to Sunrise

    While Mount Rainier is the undisputed king of the Cascades and of its namesake National Park, impressive peaks outside the park's boundaries are readily visible if one gets high enough and more importantly if it is clear. Mount Adams is another fine member of Cascade Volcanic Arc and at 12,281 feet so big it seems so close to be very much in the park. This highly glaciated peak is quite symmetrical and is often mistaken for Rainier by those visiting for the first time.

    We had our first views of Mount Adams from Shriner Peak and it was positively glowing at sunset. It is more easily seen from the road to Sunrise.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Nutcracker sweets

    by richiecdisc Written Nov 4, 2009

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    ready to break into car for M&Ms, who's fault?

    Mount Rainier National Park is a huge wilderness and while not particularly noted for its wildlife viewing opportunities, many animals call the park home. They are just not as easily observable as in others. We did not see an abundance ourselves but I believe it was due to our inability to get into the backcountry as extensively as we would have liked. Still, we saw some deer and many birds. One bird of interest is the Clark's Nutcracker. This gray and black beauty is in the jay family and just as mischievous. Though they feed on insects such as wasps, seeds make up the main part of their diet. Their bills are well-formed for seed extraction and their storage of surplus seeds leads to reforestation in burned out areas.

    We saw many of them in the parking lot at Paradise, no doubt looking for handouts. Please refrain from feeding them despite their cuteness. They are quite adept at finding food on their own and their natural behaviors are an integral part of how it all fits together. The last time I checked M&Ms were not really part of the food chain.

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    • Birdwatching

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Bear Grass

    by GuthrieColin Updated Jun 17, 2009

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    Beargrass
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    Bear grass is an alpine flower that is found in the Western United States. The flowers can grow as tall as 60 inches (150 centimeters) which makes it very noticeable. It usually flowers after 5 years and then dies. The plant then spreads its seeds into the landscape fires help to help to regenerate the plants. At Mt. Rainier they are sparsely found throughout but I imagine fairly prevalent around the paradise area.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Upper Summit Creek Falls

    by GuthrieColin Updated Jun 17, 2009

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    Upper Summit Creek Falls

    Upper Summit Creek Falls does not really stand out in pictures or even so much when you visit. The real draw to this area is Thunder falls just downstream. Upper Summit Creek Falls is interesting however and it does lie in a very interesting gorge. The falls are only about 18 feet (6 meters) but carry a large volume and take on a form of a zig zaging river that passes over a shelf. The Summit Creek Campground is also located a short distance away and would make for a great place to access Mt. Rainier NP from.

    Directions:
    From Mt. Rainier NP exit the park from the SouthEast entance. At the junction of US 12 and SR 123 go north and follow for 1.3 miles. Take a left at a poorly marked Summit Creek Road # 4510 from there follow signs for Summit Creek Campground (Left) and after 2 miles an unmarked turnout after a large rock will get you close enough to make your way to several footpaths.

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    • Camping

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Thunder Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written Jun 17, 2009

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    Thunder Falls
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    I was very pleasantly surprised by Thunder Falls. I thought It looked much smaller in photos. Upon visiting I found this waterfall to be a very large volume waterfalls for Mt. Rainier NP. I will have to visit here again later in the year as the lower water level will certainly be more scenic.
    The falls are 82 feet (25 meters) and spread out nicely over a large cliff face. Finding a good view of the falls is a bit difficult but the atmosphere in the gorge is worth the drive and hassle of getting there. I also ran across several shoots of bear grass on my way down there.

    Directions:
    From Mt. Rainier NP exit the park from the SouthEast entance. At the junction of US 12 and SR 123 go north and follow for 1.3 miles. Take a left at a poorly marked Summit Creek Road # 4510 from there follow signs for Summit Creek Campground (Left) and after 2 miles an unmarked turnout after a large rock will get you close enough to make your way to several footpaths.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Carter Falls

    by GuthrieColin Updated Jun 17, 2009

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    Carter Falls
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    Carter falls is not easily visible from the trail. A somewhat sketchy scramble down the cliff face adjacent to the falls reveals a decent view though. The falls are about 55 feet (16 meters) and lie in a well cut amphitheatre. I don’t know if I would say it was worth the hike out there unless you’re interested in waterfalls or just a good short minimal elevation hike to bring your kids on.

    Directions:
    From the well signed turnout near Cougar Rock (on the way to Paradise) follow the wonderland trail 1.3 miles east to the overlook to the falls.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    MadCap Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written Jun 17, 2009

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    MadCap Falls

    MadCap Falls may be a challenge for many people’s definition of what qualifies as a waterfall. Nevertheless it is named and does make for an interesting scene. It rumbles vertically 25 feet (7 meters) down a slope of just over 30 degrees and then travels a short distance to the crest of Carter Falls.

    Directions:
    From the well signed turnout near Cougar Rock (on the way to Paradise) follow the wonderland trail 1.3 miles east to the overlook of Carter Falls. Proceed for another few hundred feet to Madcap Falls.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    Lower Dalles Creek Falls

    by GuthrieColin Written May 26, 2008

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    Dalles Creek Falls
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    At 280 feet (85 meters) Lower Dalles Creek Falls is no slouch. In the heavy snowmelt season this waterfall looses some of its beauty. Seeing it in a later summertime level will be much more rewarding. When the creek is flowing to heavily the mist from the falls will give you quite a shower at the base and ruin your chances of getting good pictures.
    Also notable is the creeks loss of volume over its last leg. After cascading over Lower Dalles Creek Falls it seems like the volume of the stream is cut nearly in half. Just a short distance further downstream the creek is crossed on a very primitive log jam turned bridge.

    Directions:
    From the Skookum Falls viewpoint proceed just 1/5 mile further to a turnout where Palisades Trail # 1198 begins. Follow the trail for about one and a half mile to the falls.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Wildflowers and Plants in October

    by glabah Written Dec 6, 2011

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    A Few Blooms Linger on in October
    4 more images

    The growing season is very short in the 5,000 foot and above altitudes. With so few weeks available for blooming and growing, it is not unusual for a few of the flowers to be in bloom, even in October (if the snow hasn't come by then).

    Certainly, by October things are towards the end of their season, and many of the flowers are certainly on their way out. There are some that linger.

    Keep in mind that many of the flowers that grow at this altitude are very small. Even those on the bushes are just tiny dots. You may have to look very closely at many of the plants to discover their flowers.

    Obviously, spring is the best time to come, but as to what month that happens depends on the year. Sometimes the snow melt may not happen until June, or even later at some of the locations in the park.

    All of these photographs were taken in the Paradise area in mid-October, with a small amount of snow on the ground near the Paradise visitor's center due to a recent snow fall - so even if a little snow has fallen there can still be blooms if it doesn't stay around too long.

    The web site below is one of several that are not affiliated with the Naitonal Park, but describe some of the flowers that grow in this area.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Martha Falls

    by glabah Written Oct 28, 2011

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    Martha Falls plunges Down Side of Stevens Canyon

    I'm not sure that much of anything these days falls into the "off the beaten path" category in Mount Rainier National Park, but these falls are at least one of the lesser appreciated attractions in the park, even though several thousand people drive past them on certain days.

    Located several miles east of the Reflection Lakes area, Unicorn Creek falls from near the summit of Unicorn Peak (6,917 ft / 2108 m) down the slope of Stevens Canyon into Stevens Creek below. While it doesn't move much water, the long cascade down the side of the hill displays one of the many locations that make this one of the most attractive places remaining in the region.

    From Paradise or Reflection Lake head east, or west from Box Canyon. The road makes several hairpin turns as it enters and leaves Stevens Canyon, and on the south side of the road there are turn off points for views into the Canyon. Martha Falls is across the canyon from the first of these.

    It is possible to get quite close to the falls on the "Wonderland Trail" as it descends into the canyon between Louise Lake and Box Canyon.

    The Stevens Canyon Road is only open from June to October during most years.

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  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Snow in Paradise

    by goingsolo Written Jul 7, 2004

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    Paradise

    Paradise is located at about 5,600 feet, approximately a mile above sea level. It receives an average annual precipitation of 600 inches per year. During the winter of 1971-1972, 1,172 inches of snow fell, which is a world's record. At least it is according to the nps website.

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Mount Rainier National Park Off The Beaten Path

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