9688
Packwood
Choose Your Pace: Hiking Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens
Learn about the natural history of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens as you explore old-growth forests, alpine meadows and historic Longmire Springs at the pace you choose each day.
Program No. 9688RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,299
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Relax in quiet Packwood with Mt. Rainier looming over the horizon. Meet new friends and learn about the week ahead.
Packwood, WA
D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Afternoon: Unpack and relax. At 6:00 pm please join us for our first gathering in the meeting room. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions.

Dinner: Dinner at 6:45 PM at a local eatery. Our goal is to provide healthy meals with options for special diet requests. People requesting special diets may need to supplement the meals with their personal items to ensure they meet their dietary needs.

Evening: Orientation: We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Transportation will be via private 15 person vans; hikes and presentations are led by group leaders, guides, and local experts. This is a physically demanding and challenging program. Hiking distances will range from 2 to 10 miles at elevations up to 7,400 feet. For more specifics, please see the daily notes. Finish by 9:00 pm.

DAY
2
Hike around Naches Peak with outstanding views of Mt. Rainier and carpets of wildflowers. Walk through a majestic Old Growth forest.
Packwood, WA
B,L,D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Activity note: Hikes are on well maintained trails.

Breakfast: 7:15 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: Hike the Naches Peak loop with beautiful views of Tipsoo lake and Mt. Rainier. 4.5 miles RT, 700 ft. elevation gain.

Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the trail which you assembled in the morning at our lunch buffet with many sandwich, snack and fruit options. We strongly encourage you to bring and refill personal water bottles each day.

Afternoon: Hike to Grove of Patriarchs, a beautiful, large-Old Growth forest with trees a thousand years old. 1.25 mile, 50 ft. elevation gain. Take a second, optional hike to Silver Falls on the Ohonepecosh River, often considered the most picturesque stream in the park, with its crystal-clear waters, moss-laden banks, and tall forests above. 1 mile RT, 300' elevation loss.

Dinner: Dinner at local eatery.

Evening: Evening presentation on Natural History will end by 9:00 pm.

DAY
3
Hike at Paradise with Mt. Rainier looming over you while all around you are meadows.
Packwood, WA
B,L,D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Activity note: Skyline trail enroute to Camp Muir is well maintained. Some rocks to step over and gravel in sections. Optional shorter hikes to Glacier vista and Myrtle Falls are on a nice trail.

Breakfast: 7:15 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: From Paradise, on the south side of Mt. Rainier, cross sweetly scented meadows and wander among snow patches and the rubble of ancient glaciers. Marmots shrill their warning calls as you descend moss bordered rivulets. Short hike to Glacier Vista, 2.4 mile RT, 900 ft. elevation gain or Skyline trail loop enroute to Camp Muir via Panoramic viewpoint, 5.5 miles 1700 ft. elevation gain.

Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the trail which you assembled in the morning at our lunch buffet with many sandwich, snack and fruit options. We strongly encourage you to bring and refill personal water bottles each day.

Afternoon: Finish hike at Paradise.

Dinner: Dinner at Paradise Lodge.

Evening: No program this evening since we drive back from the restaurant to our lodging in Packwood.

DAY
4
Visit Mt. St. Helens, walk through the blast zone, look into the crater and see the tree rafts floating in Spirit lake.
Packwood, WA
B,L,D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Activity note: Windy ridge overlook up stairs. Optional Harmony Falls trail takes you to the edge of Spirit lake.

Breakfast: 7:15 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: Visit Meta Lake and Miners Car to see the destructive effects of the 1980 eruption and to learn how some animals and insects survived it. 0.4 miles, 20 ft. elevation gain. Hike the only trail that allows you to touch the waters of Spirit Lake. Harmony Falls was a beautiful high cascade until massive mudflows dammed the outlet of Spirit Lake and reduced the fall's height by half. 2.2 miles, 700 ft. elevation loss.

Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the trail which you assembled in the morning at our lunch buffet with many sandwich, snack and fruit options. We strongly encourage you to bring and refill personal water bottles each day.

Afternoon: Continue hiking at Mt. St. Helens. Climb to the top of Windy Ridge for a view of Spirit Lake. Thousands of trees torn from the hillside by the eruption and megatsunami still float on the lake's surface. 1 mile, 200 ft. elevation gain.

Dinner: Dinner at 6:30 PM.

Evening: Evening program on local history or geology will end by 9:00 PM.

DAY
5
Explore historic Longmire springs on the westside of Mt. Rainier, Hike to several of the waterfalls in the park.
Packwood, WA
B,L,D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Activity note: Narada Falls hike is downhill on a well maintained trail.

Breakfast: 7:15 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: Sleep in for an extra hour before driving to Longmire for our waterfall hikes. Narada Falls spills over a wall of basalt into a small pool, then veils 159' in a lacy display that can stretch to a width of 75' - complete with rainbows! A van shuttle starts you at either a longer one way hike; 4.5 miles, 2,044’ elevation loss or a shorter one way hike; 3.5 miles, 1800’ elevation loss.

Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the trail which you assembled in the morning at our lunch buffet with many sandwich, snack and fruit options. We strongly encourage you to bring and refill personal water bottles each day.

Afternoon: Walk Trail of Shadows and learn about the area's human history. Wander through old forests, wet meadows, and the mineral springs that Longmire became known for. 0.75 mile, 55’ elevation gain on very nice trail.

Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant

Evening: No program this evening since we drive back from the restaurant to our lodging in Packwood.

DAY
6
Visit the dry east side of Mt. Rainier for up close views.
Packwood, WA
B,L,D
Cowlitz River Lodge

Activity note: Hike is on a well maintained trail.

Breakfast: 7:15 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: Hike the eastside of Mt. Rainier from Sunrise to Frozen Lake. Once we reach Frozen lake (1.4 miles, ~600 ft. from visitor center), we will have several hike options with varying distances depending on trail conditions. If you continue hiking to First Burroughs Mtn. you will enjoy superb mountain views as you walk through some of the finest, most accessible tundra in the Cascades. 5 miles, 800 ft. elevation gain.

Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the trail which you assembled in the morning at our lunch buffet with many sandwich, snack and fruit options. We strongly encourage you to bring and refill personal water bottles each day.

Afternoon: Continue hiking Burroughs Mtn. See Emmons Glacier, largest in the contiguous United States. Optional add on hike to Second Burroughs Mtn. 1.2 miles RT and 400 ft. elevation gain.

Dinner: Provided by the local community at 6:45 pm.

Evening: Gather for a closing program to share memories and experiences, watch a slide show consisting of photographs taken by members of the group during the week, and learn about other Road Scholar programs. Finish by 9:00 pm.

DAY
7
Memories of beautiful scenery and new friends.
Packwood, WA
B

Activity note: No activity scheduled as people pack up for their departure after breakfast.

Breakfast: 7:00 am - Enjoy breakfast egg/sausage/cheese muffins, hardboiled eggs, waffles, homemade muesli, dry cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, and toast.

Morning: Program concludes at 7:30 am with everyone checking out by 10:00 am. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/pages/Road-Scholar-Hiking-Bicycling-Photography-Trips-in-the-Pacific-Northwest/439421666185081. Best wishes for all your journeys!