Start: This journey begins at the intersection of US Highway 12 and SR 123, about seven miles east of Packwood.
Ohanapecosh Visitor Center – First along this journey, at an elevation of 1,914 feet, stop at Ohanapecosh. Situated among Douglas firs, western red cedars, and western hemlocks, visitors can experience the beauty and complexity of an old-growth forest. This lush area offers a visitor center featuring exhibits about local history, wildlife and the old-growth forests found in this southeast corner of the park. Speak with a park ranger and learn more about the fascinating geology of the area. See the remains of the historic hot springs in the boggy area near the visitor center. The Ohanapecosh River roars through the area, and is a sight to behold.
Nearby, head to the Mt Rainier National Park Stevens Canyon Entrance & Grove of the Patriarchs – Wander among the towering giants and witness trees thousands of years old. Park outside the park entrance and walk in during the off season or until the Park reopens. Just before the bridge crossing the Ohanapecosh River, turn left into a parking area for the trailhead to Grove of the Patriarchs. Everyone in the family will enjoy this easy 1.5 mile loop through spectacular old-growth forest. Witness ancient stands of gigantic Douglas-firs, western hemlock and western red cedar, some estimated to be over 1,000 years old. People come from all over the world to experience walking through ancient forests of trees with 30-foot circumferences.
Return to the parking area and take the Silver Falls trail across the road. You will be rewarded by a rushing waterfall, that will put a “cherry on top” of your day of exploration.
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