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
8 days
Starts at
9 Reviews
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4.13 Average
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We hiked on mountain trails and pebbled beaches with sea stacks, around lakes and in old growth forests between 4 and 8 miles a day. Our guide Jenny, a geology professor, was an entertaining leader who shared her knowledge about the area. Bob was our other geology professor guide who taught us about the region’s ecology and conservation efforts. One day we had two additional guides, enabling our group of 13 hikers to go on four different hikes simultaneously. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the majesty of Mt. Rainier with its glaciers in evidence. Many of the Mt. Rainier hiking trails started at our lodge and were wide asphalt trails. So, you could look at the scenery and not your feet while hiking. We saw a bear, marmots and pika. In the Lake Crescent Lodge, our room’s window had a view through trees of a tranquil mountain lake. Paradise Lodge had a large lobby with a vaulted ceiling and piano player. Our rooms there were new but quite small. The unique sites on the beaches, forests and mountains are etched in my memory. I highly recommend this Road Scholar trip, with thanks to our guides, Jenny and Bob, who added a lot to this memorable experience.


The program was wonderful and highlighted the best of two magnificent national parks. A wide variety of hikes were available so each participant could hike at his or her own comfort level. The leader was superb. She not only had vast knowledge of the area, expertise in the field related to the educational component of the program, but she was kind, fun and an absolutely wonderful, warm person with a great sense of humor. The other hike leaders and a lecturer were also of the highest caliber.


Enjoying the beautiful destinations, learning about the geology, and hiking in the variety of ecosystems all contributed to a most memorable experience. Jenny and Bob were awesome leaders: knowledgeable, always helpful and FUN! What a wonderful trip!


Excellent program with two very well qualified and dynamic leaders, Jen and Bob. I selected this program for the opportunity to visit and hike in both Olympic and Mt Rainier Nat'l Parks; I was well pleased. The hiking options provided suited my needs as well as those who were interested in more strenuous outings. Highly recommend this program. Five Stars!!!


I am so glad I did this hiking trip. The two national parks are beautiful and quite different. The trip leaders Jenny and Bob are very likable and obviously enjoyed leading the trip, sharing their love for their areas of expertise, the northwest and getting to know us. The education materials provided were very good. I was hesitant to join this trip because of the long travel from one site to the next but Bob's on bus presentations made the time seem to go by quickly. The additional local guides, Geode, Kevin and Diane were a big plus with their knowledge, experiences and love for the area. Lake Crescent Lodge and Paradise Inn were ideal locations for this trip. Breakfast and dinners, especially at Lake Crescent Lodge, were good and additional hiking trails right outside were great for free time exploration. The "strenuous hikes" were very doable.


A great intro to the wonderful national parks by two highly qualified and enthusiastic educators who clearly loved to share their love for geology and the national park experience. Bob Little’s “hands on” demos of plate tectonics were great,


Two days of hikes, four days of short walks, none approaching the eight miles promised. Options were available on only two of the six days. Leader did not manage time and details well. Because regular briefings were not provided, participants had to ask questions piecemeal to get needed information. Paradise area of Mount Rainier was spectacular. Lodging was good, as were almost all of the meals.


Logistics, road delays, and trail closing prevented the program from being as good as it could have been. Program was light on hiking options and too heavy on education and standing around for my tastes while at Olympic. I would have appreciated more time for walking the beaches and experiencing the Hoh rain forest. We always seemed rushed once we finally got to our hiking destinations. We were, however, blessed with a great group of people, convenient lodgings, and one perfect blue sky day at Paradise on Mt. Rainier. The wild flowers were spectacular and some of the hikes at Paradise were plenty challenging and beautiful. I also made time before breakfast and after dinner most days to do sufficient exploring on my own to suit my needs.


These two areas are incredibly beautiful and interesting parts of the country, and I enjoyed experiencing them while hiking with a fun group of travelers. Our guides, Jenny (geologist) and John (naturalist), were congenial, fun, and knowledgable in their subject areas. The first few days we spent a lot of time listening to info and less time hiking than most in the group wanted, but after we made our feelings known, the leaders adjusted the plans with more hiking. I enjoyed the lodges at Lake Crescent and Mt. Rainier (Paradise Lodge) in their lovely settings, as well as optional free-time hikes right out of our doorstep. The food was especially good at Lake Crescent with five healthy choices for breakfast and three for dinner.e This was a new program, and I believe it will keep improving.

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