MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
I was originally more excited about N. Cascades NP than Mt. Rainier, but after going to both twice, I would choose Mt. Rainier if I had to pick between the two. Paradise alone is one of the most incredible hikes we've done, surrounding us with views throughout the entire hike.
We reserved a spot at Cougar Rock campground for Friday and Saturday nights beginning on July 7, 2018. We took off after work and arrived around 8pm, after stopping at the Base Camp Grill in Ashford, just outside the entrance to the Park. Other than that, we hung out at the campground for a bit before heading to bed in preparation of our big day for Saturday.
DAY 1 SATURDAY 07.07.2018
One of the best things about camping, is waking up and having coffee while relaxing at the campsite. Then once we are ready, we get the breakfast going. Here is what we had planned for the rest of the day...
Ricksecker Point Road
Inspiration Point (lookout)
Bench Lake/Snow Lake Hike
Grove of the Patriarchs Hike
Silver Falls Hike
Christine Falls: This waterfall is very easy to access right from the main road. If you're coming from the same campground, head just past the bridge and there is a small parking area for the viewing point. There is an even smaller pull-off before the bridge but the better viewing point is probably a .1 mile RT walk from the pull-off just past the bridge. The photos below are what you will see..
Ricksecker Point Road: It's not super special...I mean considering there are views everywhere. It's a one-way loop and unless you're really pressed for time, it doesn't hurt to take the road! It's about a mile long and it reconnects with the main road. There are a few pull-offs along the way including Ricksecker Point. [Ricksecker Point: 46.769813, -121.781047]
Narada Falls: This is an easy access waterfall with a large parking area (and bathrooms at the trailhead!). It's only .25mi RT. The trail to the waterfall is fairly steep so keep that in mind. If you are unable to make it down, you can look down on the top part of the waterfall from the parking area [Parking Area: 46.775148, -121.746929]
Ruby Falls: I'm not sure if we found it. When you google image search "Ruby Falls," there are some pretty cool images and we definitely didn't find that. Where google maps lists Ruby Falls, there is no signage. We did, however, find a stream and there are some nice little river pools you can take a dip in and some smaller waterfalls. I'd call it a cool hangout spot. Maybe we didn't search far enough? If you know more about Ruby Falls, feel free to reach out to me!
Inspiration Point: This is definitely worth a stop for the views. You'll get an impressive view of the valley as well as an impressive view on the mountain! I actually appreciated the view of the valley more (maybe because Paradise is where it's at for staring at the big mountain). [Inspiration Point: 46.773394, -121.744173]
Reflection Lake: Definitely one of the most scenic (and easy access) places in the entire park. *[PRO TIP - when the wind is blowing, the water will not be still and you will not see the reflection through the entire lake. It might be best to come early in the morning]. And we didn't follow that tip, so we did not see the reflection throughout the lake. A beautiful scenic spot nonetheless. [Reflection Lake: 46.768211, -121.728452]