23289
Washington

Choose Your Pace: Hiking in the Olympic Mountains & Mount Rainier

Learn about the explosive history of Mt. Rainier volcano and study the biodiversity of Olympic National Park’s rainforests as you hike through diverse natural settings in Washington.
Rating (4.13)
Program No. 23289RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,899
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Seattle, WA
D
Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Sea-Tac Area

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check-in at the front desk.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have dinner in a private dining room.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leaders will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with two experts who will provide educational content and also serve as Group Leaders. We will also have a local expert who will join us for hikes each day. You may choose from multiple hiking levels each day based on your ability, preferred pace, and intensity. Throughout the program, we will be traveling to each destination via private motorcoach. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent Lodge
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA
B,L,D
Lake Crescent Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 185 miles, approximately 4 hours throughout the day. Two hiking levels available: Moderate: Hiking 3 miles; 4 hours; 900 feet elevation change; short sections of 15% grade; packed gravel with short sections of uneven rocks. Strenuous: Hiking 4.2 miles; 4 hours; 1,500 feet elevation gain; sections of 25% grade; trail includes packed gravel, short exposed sections, possible loose rock, and short sections of steeper rock steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, pancakes, cereals, yogurt, fruits, bagels, bread, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board a motorcoach and ride to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park.

Lunch: At the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, we’ll have boxed lunches at picnic tables.

Afternoon: Next, we'll head out for a hike on the trails from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. From the National Park Service: “Life at Hurricane Ridge is shaped by wind and snow. Winds gusting over 75 miles an hour buffet the ridge, lending the name ‘Hurricane.’ The 30-35 feet of snow that falls annually lingers into summer, shaping life year-round. Its weight challenges trees; its persistence maintains open meadows.” Following our hikes, we'll reboard the motorcoach and ride to Lake Crescent Lodge for check-in.

Dinner: In the lodge main dining room, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Marymere Falls, Elwha River Restoration Project
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA
B,L,D
Lake Crescent Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 1 hour throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: From the lodge, we’ll walk to the Marymere Falls trail to begin our hikes. The area is characterized by old growth forest and there will be views of the 90-foot-high waterfall. Next, we'll head to the Elwha River Restoration Project for another hiking field trip. From the National Park Service: “For millennia, the Elwha River ran wild, connecting mountains and seas in a thriving ecosystem.... In the early 1900s, two dams, Elwha and Glines Canyon, were built on the river. The dams fueled regional growth, but blocked the migration of salmon upstream, disrupted the flow of sediment and wood downstream, and flooded the historic homelands and cultural sites of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.... In 1992, Congress passed the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, authorizing dam removal to restore the altered ecosystem.... Today, the Elwha River once again flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains.”

Lunch: We’ll stop at a scenic spot along the Elwha River and have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: From the restoration project site, we’ll take the motorcoach back to the lodge. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You might like to hike on your own around the lake, take a swim, or rent a boat.

Dinner: Lodge plated meal.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local Native interpreter for a presentation on Native history and culture.

DAY
4
Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, WA
B,L,D
Lake Crescent Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 165 miles, approximately 4 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We'll take the motorcoach to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. We'll first explore the visitor center, then set out on one of the myriad of hiking opportunities. From the National Park Service: “Throughout the winter season, rain falls frequently in the Hoh Rain Forest, contributing to the yearly total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet!) of precipitation each year. The result is a lush, green canopy of both coniferous and deciduous species. Mosses and ferns that blanket the surfaces add another dimension to the enchantment of the rainforest.... The Hoh is one of the finest remaining examples of temperate rainforest in the United States.”

Lunch: At the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll take the motorcoach to Ruby Beach, where we'll have an expert-led exploration of the tide pools and a hike along a coastal trail. After our hiking field trip, we'll return to the Lodge.

Dinner: Lodge plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
5
Longmire Museum, Mt. Rainier Hikes, Paradise Inn
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
B,L,D
Paradise Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 200 miles, approximately 4.5 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the lodge and take the motorcoach to Mt. Rainier National Park. Our first stop will be the Longmire Museum where we’ll have an expert-led introduction to the variety of exhibits about Mt. Rainier followed by time to see what interests each of us most. We’ll then walk to the trailhead for the Trail of the Shadows in the Longmire area, where you'll choose your hike. From the National Park Service: “Mount Rainier National Park offers over 260 miles of maintained trails through the peacefulness of the old-growth forest of the river valleys and the high subalpine meadows on the flanks of Mount Rainier.... Human and natural history come together in the forest and meadows of Longmire.”

Lunch: At a scenic location in Mt. Rainier National Park, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride to the Nisqually Vista Trailhead, where you'll choose your hike. The Nisqually Glacier gives birth to the Nisqually River that runs to Puget Sound. Wildflowers bloom generally during the summer months. After the hike, we'll ride to the Paradise Inn for check-in with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the main dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Skyline Trail, Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
B,L,D
Paradise Inn

Activity note: Walking through varied terrain during hikes.

Breakfast: In the main dining room, have what you like from the breakfast buffet that includes choices such as scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, Belgian waffles, hot oatmeal, cold cereals, granola, yogurt, fresh seasonal fruit, pastries, milk, hot chocolate, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: From the Paradise Inn we'll head out walking for a hike on the Skyline Trail and return to the inn after our field trip.

Lunch: In the main dining room.

Afternoon: Next, we'll explore the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center adjacent to the Paradise Inn. An expert will introduce the exhibits on geology, glaciers, mountain climbing, and wildlife. We’ll then have some time for independent exploration. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson (1912-1983) was a notable U.S. Senator from Washington state and the author of the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act. The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax or hike independently on trails surrounding the Inn.

Dinner: At the inn.

Evening: We’ll gather at the inn for a presentation by a local expert on the geographic formation of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains as well as local history.

DAY
7
Narada Falls, Reflection Lakes, Grove of the Patriarchs
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
B,L,D
Paradise Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 45 miles, approximately 1.5 hours throughout the day.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: We’ll take the motorcoach to Narada Falls for your choice of hike, then ride to Reflection Lakes for another hike.

Lunch: At a scenic area near Reflection Lakes, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Next, we'll board the coach and drive to Box Canyon for a hike of your choice. For our final hike, we’ll ride to the Grove of the Patriarchs Trailhead, where you'll once again choose your hike before riding back to the Inn.

Dinner: At the inn. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll gather with our Group Leader for a final session on highlights of the program. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Seattle Airport, Program Concludes
Seattle, WA
B

Activity note: 8:00 a.m. transfer to Seattle Airport, arriving approximately 11:30 a.m. We advise booking flights that depart after 1:00 p.m.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: After check-out, we will board our motorcoach for transfer to the Seattle Airport. We will depart at approximately 8:00 a.m. and arrive at the Seattle Airport at approximately 11:30 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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