Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Grove of the Patriarchs

A few weeks ago we took a stroll through the majestic Grove of the Patriarchs in Mount Rainier National Park. This incredibly pleasant hike passes through an old-growth forest as it follows along the banks of the Ohanapecosh River. Along the way it travels through a forest of Western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, Western hemlock, red alder and Pacific silver fir. Although quite impressive, these trees you'll see during the first portion of the hike are nothing compared to the giants you'll walk amongst once you cross over the river.

Once across the fairly long suspension bridge, the trail makes a loop around a small mid-river island of ancient trees. Some of the Western red-cedars and Douglas-firs on this island are more than a thousand years old, reach heights of at least 300 feet, and have circumferences approaching 50 feet in diameter!

The trailhead for the Grove of the Patriarchs is located near the Stevens Canyon Entrance, just north of the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center in the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. The 1.1-mile "lollipop" loop hike is mostly flat, and travels on a packed dirt path, but becomes a raised boardwalk once you get to the loop portion of the trail.

Hikers may also want to make note that mosquitoes can be quite thick along the trail during the summer months.

Trail: Grove of the Patriarchs
RT Distance: 1.1 Miles
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Max Elevation: 2200 feet
TH Location: Stevens Canyon Entrance
Map: Mount Rainier National Park Trails Illustrated Map

Day Hike! Mount Rainier uncovers the best trails for the day tripper, whether you’re a newbie hiker or a veteran with hundreds of miles on your boots. Northwest outdoors expert and Seattle Times's Trail Mix columnist Ron Judd reviews more than 50 of the best day hike trails in Mt. Rainier National Park, from Paradise and Sunrise to the lower foothills. The book describes classic routes - from easy to moderate to extreme - giving hikers the choices they want.

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