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How Are Conditions at Mount Rainier This Summer? A Little Snowy at the Moment

On Wednesday (June 27) fellow blogger Steve T. and I took some out-of-town REI colleagues to visit Mount Rainier National Park. Many of them were seeing the park for the first time.

Below I share some snapshots from our trip to:

1) Show you what late-June conditions are like in America's fifth-oldest, 18th most-visited national park (1,038,229 visitors in 2011) and

2) Share our one-day, keep-it-moving, greatest-hits tour of the park; maybe you can use it as an idea-starter for a possible early-summer, see-it-in-a-day tour of your own.

Chinook PassAbove: Before entering the park we drove our crew up to Chinook Pass (5,430 feet) on state route 410 east of Rainier. (The road to Sunrise, in the park's northeast corner and the highest point accessible by vehicles at 6,400 feet, opens on Friday, June 29.)  The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the pass a few hundred feet from where this photo was taken. Estimated snow depth: 7 feet. Or should I say, this being late June, 7 feet!Silver FallsAbove: Lovely, rip-roaring Silver Falls (elevation: 2,100 feet) on the Ohanapecosh River, about a 3-mile round-trip hike from the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center.
trioAbove: Left to right, Bud Cardwell (REI Santa Rosa, Calif.), Phil Bates (REI San Francisco) and Erica Elder (REI Austin, Tex., downtown) check out Silver Falls from its upstream viewpoint. They were among a group of REI staffers recognized by their peers for exemplary work in 2011. Each received an REI Anderson Award, named for REI co-founders Lloyd and Mary Anderson.
Lisa McBride of REI College Park, Md. prepares to cross a suspension bridge across the Ohanapecosh River to the Grove of the Patriarchs (elevation: 2,200 feet), a collection of tall trees near the park's Stevens Canyon entrance, in Rainier's southeast corner.


Left: A huge Western red cedar found in the Grove of the Patriarchs.  RLAbove: Reflection Lake (approximate elevation: 5,000 feet), with a thick layer of snow and ice occupying the space where a reflection of Rainier is usually seen. Melissa Sherrow of REI Redmond, Wash. and Joshua Hess (REI Henderson, Nev.) take in the scene.






We did find a few spots where Reflection
Lake's surface had emerged.












Panorama TrailAbove: From the Paradise Visitor Center, a 20-minute walk up the Panorama Trail brings you to this lovely, snowbound scene (estimated elevation: 5,800 feet).foxAbove: Critter alert: Moments after spotting a golden marmot Erica Elder of REI Austin, Tex. and Melissa Sherrow (REI Redmond, Wash.) click some pics of a fox.

fallsLeft: A late-afternoon view of 176-foot Narada Falls (elevation: 4,564 feet).

The view from the porch of the National Park Inn in the park's historic Longmire district (southwest corner; elevation 2,760 feet).

Below: Reflection Lake, a little overdue for a summertime thaw. (Photos by T.D. Wood.)

Posted on at 2:50 PM

Tagged: Mount Rainier and national parks

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Great trip around the mountain with Steve, T.D. and REI friends. Hard to beat the "Oh, Wow!" factor on this 'round-the-mountain drive with lots of opportunities to explore away from the asphalt if you'd like to. (Can't believe you guys saw a fox! AND got great pics!)-- Terri

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