The road to Mount Rainier

The scenic route to Mt. Rainier National Park.

It was late-May and we were in the SeaTac area. With Winter behind us and a good part of Spring too, it seemed like a fairly good time to squeeze in a drive to Mt. Rainier.

So we drove South for a bit and left I-5S to drive into Spanaway Loop Road and then onto WA 7 (S). This was the route to the southwest entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park and we knew we were on another scenic drive.

It is not for nothing that Washington is called the Evergreen State. This state in the Pacific Northwest gets rain for more than half the year and that helps keep it as verdant as it can be. Nurturing vast areas of protected forests and being one of the addresses of the Cascade Mountain Range, Washington is a refreshingly beautiful state.

Being on the National Park Highway we passed miles and miles of land forested in evergreen trees and patches of wild flowers. We drove alongside the Nisqually River and kept spotting it beside the highway we were on, only we were going in opposite directions.

The scenic route to Mt.Rainier National Park, WA


Scenic route: Mt.Rainier National Park, WA


Nisqually River
The Nisqually River flowing away from Mt. Rainier.
This glacial river flows west and empties itself into Puget Sound near Seattle.

As we drove eastward we met with some light showers, which seemed to have made the Evergreen state, ‘greener.’ At one point we also got a glimpse of the serene and absolutely lovely Alder Lake which reserves some of Nisqually’s water.

The road to Mt. Rainier National Park


Alder Lake, WA
Alder Lake.
Had it been a clear day, we might have seen Mt. Rainier from here.

As we drove into Mt. Rainier National Park, we got to what might have been a path of some kind of massive flow. Considering we were nearing a volcano and the fact that there were no trees on that rocky patch, it is natural to think that this was one of the routes that Mt. Rainier’s lava took. But no, that was not really the story. An information board we stopped at moments later, told me that glacial rivers are known to deposit sediment on the riverbed, building obstructions, so the water is often forced to curve and ‘braid’ over its path and form new channels.

Mt. Rainier National Park, WA


Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
As such this must be the handiwork of the water that flows off the Nisqually glacier on Mt. Rainier.

As we drove further towards Paradise, an area in the southern part of Mt. Rainier, we worked our way along mountainous terrain and spotted some water falling off high cliffs. Higher up there was fog. And because of that, we hadn’t spotted the 14,410 ft. tall mountain that is said to be visible for hundreds of miles away from where it stands. However I was pretty sure we’d get to see it as we neared it.

The route took us past more scenic beauty. All the while it had been raining for a bit and pausing, and the pattern seemed to go on and on. I was optimistic that I would be able to take back some sights of the largest-volcanic-mountain-of-the-Cascade Range, during one of those breaks the rain seemed to be taking every now and then.

Further up the road we encountered Christine Falls. A part of the waterfall flowed down the side of the road on what seemed like a natural staircase. The Fall then had another fall, this part over a bigger drop below the level of the bridge on the road. When we got to Christine Falls’ viewpoint, there was a respite from the showers so I got to take some pictures of this cascade.

Christine Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park.


Christine Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
Christine Falls


Mt. Rainier National Park, WA

After more rain and a few more miles on the road to Paradise, there was the Narada Falls that was clearly fresh glacial melt rushing down a path of lava rocks.

Here are a few pictures from the upper Narada Falls and smaller falls near it:

Narada Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park


Narada Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park

As we went closer to Mt. Rainier, we saw there was snow on either sides of the road and finally got to the Henry M Jackson Memorial Visitor Center that was sure to show us that sight – the mountain that was made of layers and layers of lava. But alas! all we could see was a thick white pall of fog concealing that structure which was sure to have made my jaws drop.

And the rest of the way to the mountain was closed due to snow and the rough weather. 😐

Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA


Visitor Center, Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
The Paradise area is said to receive over a 100 inches of snow every year.

Although the drive culminated in disappointment, that was indeed a scenic drive toward the heart of the Evergreen State. As for Mt. Rainier, I’ll have to go see it another day.

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington.

[If I disappointed you by not being able to show you Mt. Rainier, let me link you to pictures of the mountain from Henry M Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, here- Mt. Rainier from Paradise.]


Suggested Reading

If you are interested in Volcanoes,Β 

you’ll probably like the posts under —Β VOLCANIC sites:
Faithful Geyser of California

& Coming soon — Mt. St. Helens πŸ˜‰


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  1. Looks like a dream land. extremely beautiful πŸ™‚

  2. What a lovely road to ride on. Looks absolutely surreal with those magnificent vistas. Adipoli drive, alle Nambiare? πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, that was definitely another scenic route. Mala kandilla enna oru sankadam maathram. πŸ™
      But I'm definitely going to go see it sometime. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for stopping by, Nomad. πŸ™‚
      You have an adipoli weekend, ok. πŸ™‚

  3. Yesterday itself I was thinking of planning a trip to Mt Rainier (along with Yellowstone and Crater Lake). But I think that would be too long a stretch to cover…so will have to rethink.

    Anyway, i have heard of its beauty. You did have a good time though you couldn't see it.
    Better luck next time 😊

    • The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous. When you do Rainier and Crater lake, do St. Helens and Mt. Hood as well. These two are between the two (Crater Lake and Mt. Rainier) I'll show you some of Mt. St. Helens, soon. πŸ™‚

      I know, it was pretty disappointing. Thankfully it's in a place I can go to, again. So I'm definitely going that side again.
      Thank you, Alok. πŸ™‚

  4. Wow! Such a wonderful place to take pictures and witness the serene beauty! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  5. Beautiful place and photos! You had me at that 1st photo – absolutely gorgeous!

  6. Great pics and a wonderful write-up. Stumbled upon this just in time for my visit next month. Thank you!

    • Hey Bhargavi,
      First of all, Welcome here. πŸ™‚
      That is so cool. I'm glad it'll be of some use to you. Have fun. Looks like it's a good time to go see Mt. Rainier.

      You're so welcome.
      Thank you for leaving me a comment. πŸ™‚

  7. Christine falls is so well framed.
    I am curious about the Narada falls πŸ™‚ How did it get its name?

    • Thank you so much, Indrani.

      A lot of the places around here owe their names to the Native Americans. And you guess how Narada is pronounced here. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  8. Such beautiful pictures!
    Your travel posts are amazing dear. Love reading them πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so, so much Purba.
      So nice to hear that you enjoy these posts. I'll try not to disappoint you.
      Thank you so much for letting me know. Have a great week! πŸ™‚

  9. Beautifully captured! Would love to ride there!

  10. This is so so beautiful! I love the roads with the tall trees on either sides, disappearing in the mist!

  11. The picture postcards capture the intrinsic beauty to perfection, Divya! Just lovely:)

  12. What a scenic road..! And the nature around is exhilarating:) Thank you Divya:)

  13. the route is really very scenic, loved the waterfall pictures Dee πŸ™‚

  14. Place with scenic beauty, waterfall near bridge is beautiful.

  15. Beautiful road to drive.

  16. What a delightful road…
    And what colours!

  17. Pingback: Cascade Volcanoes: Mt. Shasta |Tipsy from the TRIP

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