Activities

Shadows of the Past Tour at Mt. Rainier

The National Park Service announced today it’s Shadows of the Past program, to be held at the Trail of the Shadows near Longmire in Mount Rainier National Park.  The program is a ~90 minute tour along the half-mile trail that will lead families and individuals of all ages into a journey into the past to visit characters such as John Muir, P.B. Van Trump and Fay Fuller among others.  As the walk continues the characters will come to life and share their stories of Mount Rainier.

The program will run 4 nights during the summer: July 10th, July 24th, August 7th, and August 21st.  Ranger-led lantern tours depart every 20 minutes between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The program will be held rain or shine. Bring a warm jacket, insect repellant, a flashlight, and wear sturdy shoes. The program is free with the National Park admission fee.

If you have questions or you are interested in becoming involved in the program as a character or lantern bearer, please contact Lee Snook at (360) 569-2211  *6043

Take a look at this video produced by the National Park Service to see what’s in store:

“Shadows of the Past” – Mount Rainier National Park from Three Moon Bay on Vimeo.

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Featured Hike: Bench Lake to Snow Lake

by Three Bears Lodge on June 17, 2010 Category: Hikes

View of Mt. Rainier from Bench Lake
Bench Lake to Snow Lake Hike Map - Click for Larger Map

Click for Larger Map

Hike: Bench Lake to Snow Lake
Distance: Approx. 2.5 Miles Round-Trip
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Elevation Gain: Approx. 700 feet
Time: About 1 Hour
Season: Mid-June to October

We received some great comments from last month’s Rampart Ridge Hike, and several requests that we include some hikes near the Paradise area of Mt. Rainier. This week we thought we’d feature the hike to Bench Lake and Snow Lake, an easier and family-friendly trail that has lots of great scenery everyone can enjoy. This 2.5 mile hike offers rolling meadows, beautiful lakes and an amazing uninterrupted view of Mount Rainier.

Though these lakes are located just off the road a few minutes past the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, you’ll feel like you’re miles from everyone after dropping into the basin surrounding the lakes.

The parking area is on the right side of Stevens Canyon Road, about 2 miles from Paradise. The trailhead will lead you South from the parking area and  you’ll wind your way through the meadow area known as The Bench. As you approach Bench Lake, approximately ¾ of a mile into your hike, you’ll get an uninterrupted view of Mt. Rainier and its reflection upon the lake.

As you continue your hike you’ll follow the trail another ½ mile to reach Snow Lake. Snow Lake is formed by Unicorn Creek, which in turn is formed by ice and melting snow from Unicorn Peak just above the lake. The lake sits surrounded on the East, South, and West by a tall ridge, blocking most sunlight and leaving the lake almost as cold as the ice and snow above it. You can usually find blocks of ice floating in the lake throughout the year, leaving no doubt as to how the lake earned its name.

The trail features rolling hills and a relatively short distance, so this hike is recommended for families with children and those looking for a quick day hike and some amazing photo opportunities in the National Park.  This hike is a great addition to a stop at Ohanapecosh in the Southeast end of the park to hike the Grove of the Patriarchs path featuring old-growth forest and some of the largest trees in the region.

View of Bench Lake from the Trail

View of Bench Lake from the Trail

Photo Credits: View of Mt. Rainier from Bench Lake & View of Bench Lake from the Trail.

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Featured Hike: Rampart Ridge Trail

by Three Bears Lodge on May 26, 2010 Category: Hikes

Rampart Ridge Trail at Mount Rainier National Park

Rampart Ridge Map

Click for Large Map

Distance: Approximately 5 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation Gain: Approximately 1400 feet
Time: About 2.5 Hours
Season: Mid-June to October
Dogs Allowed: No

As the snow in Mount Rainier National Park begins to melt in early summer, more and more great hiking opportunities present themselves. One trail that becomes hikeable in mid-June is the Rampart Ridge Trail. Created by ancient lava flow from Mount Rainier, Rampart Ridge is located near Longmire, just a few minutes inside the Southwest Ashford entrance to the park. You’ll find the trail just across the street from the National Park Inn. The nearly 5 mile loop offers beautiful scenery and a short but challenging climb to the top of Rampart Ridge.

View of Mt Rainier from Rampart Ridge

View of Mt Rainier from Rampart Ridge

For the best views of Mt. Rainier you should take the loop clockwise. To reach the Rampart Ridge Trail, start out along the 0.75 mile Trail of the Shadows, a quick loop and good day hike alternative for families with small children. At the back of the Trail of Shadows you’ll find the trailhead for Rampart Ridge. Once you begin the hike you’ll quickly ascend nearly 1400 feet. Switchbacks will lead you up and through douglas firs to reach the top of the ridge, where the path quickly levels off. The hike up is steep, but the payoff is quick once you reach the top of the ridge, since hikers are rewarded with gorgeous uninterrupted views of Mt. Rainier. Follow the ridge until you meet up with the Wonderland Trail to take you back down to Longmire, about 2 miles further.

The hike should take approximately 2.5 hours for the average hiker. Be sure to bring your camera for the wildlife and scenic views. Keep in mind that the trail may still have snow until late June, so come prepared for a little mud or cold wind at the top of the ridge.

For an awesome day trip through Mt. Rainier National Park try pairing this hike with a stop at Paradise to see the Henry Jackson Visitor Center, a quick 2.5 mile hike from Bench Lake to Snow Lake, and a short drive to Ohanapecosh to hike through Grove of the Patriarchs.

Rampart Ridge Hike Map

Click for larger map of Rampart Ridge Trail

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Spring Is In The Air At Northwest Trek

by Three Bears Lodge on April 9, 2010 Category: Activities

Northwest Trek Bison JumpingA majestic bear snatching a salmon from a stream, an elk sauntering through tall mountain grasses, eagles soaring slowly across a blue sky- all these images are easily evoked when considering a wild wonderland such as Mount Rainier. It’s not too often that we get to witness firsthand these lovely vignettes of the natural world, but guests of Three Bears Lodge are in luck! Conveniently located a mere half hour from our Mount Rainier cabins is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive and exciting destinations: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. At Northwest Trek, even the slickest of city dwellers can comfortably come face-to-face with all of our region’s most cherished wild creatures.

Spring is in the air, and anyone who’s ever seen Bambi knows precisely what that means! The bison, the deer, even the skunks are “twitterpated” this time of year, making for an especially heartwarming day-trip to the wildlife park from our cabins. Under the warm spring sunshine, you and your family can enjoy a tram tour through the park, an unpredictably entertaining trail-side encounter with the wildlife, and more than anything, you can delight in this season’s most precious bounty: baby animals of all shapes and sizes!

The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is a wonderful resource for children and adults of all ages to benefit from and explore our natural Pacific Northwest heritage.

Wolf Pups SleepingPhoto courtesy tambako

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