Why choose between exploring Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Parks? Our five-day tour is a perfect balance of amazing walks, breathtaking views, and quality time in both of Washington’s two most famous wilderness areas and we’re out to soak up every minute of it. If you’re looking to deepen your connection with these incredible parks while still covering ground, this is your chance!
Walk the trails alongside a naturalist guide as they find moments to open your eyes to the intricate ecology and fascinating geology of the region, spot wildlife, and discover a deeper understanding of the stories of these Parks. Experience being dwarfed by towering old growth trees, dazzled by ancient glaciers of Mt. Rainier, calmed by the Pacific Ocean as it crashes against rocky shores and enveloped by the lushness of the Hoh Rainforest. This type of deep and immersive travel is our favorite way to connect with the stunning wild places we call home.
Day 1: Mt. Rainier National Park
The Nisqually Valley, Longmire, Waterfalls, & Paradise Valley
The largest volcano in the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, is calling our name and over the next two days we’ll be exploring this grandiose landscape. We’ll spend the morning amongst 800-year old trees in historic Longmire, WA, where the first Euro-American settlers here capitalized on the abundant mineral springs by opening a resort. After a seasonal picnic lunch, we’ll drive up the winding roads of this great mountain in pursuit of Paradise. As we rise above the tree line, we’ll spend our afternoon wandering the trails up to Panorama Point, Myrtle Falls, or Glacier Vista (if you’d prefer more of a challenge). Take in astounding views of the Cascade Mountain Range or watch for Hoary Marmots and American Pika scurrying about the rocks—a favorite pastime for visitors and locals alike. In the evening, we’ll hike straight down the trail to our dinner spot—the Paradise Inn Dining Room—for a rewarding meal before driving down the mountain to our accommodations for the night.
Walking Distances: 2 to 6 miles (flexible options)
Accommodations: Cowlitz River Lodge
Dinner: Historic Paradise Lodge
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Day 2: Mt. Rainier National Park
Old-Growth Forests, Hiking, Sunrise Area, & More!
Our second day of the trip will focus on the northeastern side of the mountain, much of which is inaccessible for 9 months of the year! At 6,400-ft, Sunrise is the highest point of the park that can be reached by vehicle. With 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks (including neighboring Cascade volcanoes!) this vantage point continues the visual story of the geologic forces that sculpted it. From this perspective you’ll witness entirely different lava flows, valleys, and glaciers than the day before. We will spend most of today learning about the cultural and environmental history of Mt. Rainier and the greater Pacific Northwest. With luck, we’ll catch a glimpse of the local wildlife, including deer, mountain goats, and black bear that frequent this part of the mountain in summer. Take advantage of some free time this evening: catch a bite to eat at the local pizza joint or enjoy a cold beer at Packwood Brewing Company.
Walking Distances: 4 to 6 miles (flexible options)
Accommodations: Cowlitz River Lodge
Dinner: Freetime to Explore Packwood
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Day 3: Olympic National Park
The Pacific Ocean, Kalaloch & Rialto Beaches, & Lake Quinault
Today is day of transition: we’ll wake up underneath Mt. Rainier and go to sleep on the Olympic Peninsula. Along the way, we’ll break up the drive and stretch our legs with a walk by Lake Quinault and a tasty lunch at the historic Lake Quinault Lodge. While here, we’ll take the opportunity to explore some of the largest Sitka Spruce and Western Red Cedar trees in the world. Afterwards, we’ll make our way to Kalaloch Lodge to enjoy some peaceful downtime on the coast. Dinner tonight is over an open fire on the beach, and after dinner, you’re invited to join us for an optional sunset viewing at the famous Rialto Beach. We’ll pack blankets, wine, and some local chocolates and revel in the changing colors as they sink below the horizon.
Walking Distances: 2 to 4 miles
Accommodations: Kalaloch Lodge
Dinner: Around the Campfire
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Day 4: Olympic National Park
The Hoh Rainforest
We’ll pack our lunch boxes because we are spending a full day in the most famous rainforest in the continental United States. As we walk the Hoh River Trail, we’ll take time to appreciate the infinite shades of green within this vibrant landscape—from the mosses to the trees, the lichens and the ferns, this is probably where the Evergreen State earned its nickname. Everyone is encouraged to move at their own pace, covering as much or as little mileage as is comfortable. The Hoh Rainforest is a place of wonder and mystery and the perfect setting for a dreamy stroll. As one of the last remaining stands of temperate rainforest in the world, come see for yourself why it is worth protecting.
Walking Distances: 2 to 8 miles (flexible options)
Accommodations: Kalaloch Lodge
Dinner: Kalaloch Lodge
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Day 5: Olympic National Park
Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, & the Ferry to Seattle
Today we say goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and return inland to the mountains. The only sub-alpine ecosystem in the National Park that is accessible by vehicle, Hurricane Ridge offers premium mountain views, plunging valleys, and deer in the meadows. At a mile above sea-level, the panoramas here rarely disappoint! Instead of standing beneath a gigantic volcano, you’ll now stand at eye-level with dozens of peaks. We’ll hike along the Hurricane Hill trail, soaking up sun among the wildflowers and wind-battered alpine trees. Later, we’ll make our way back to Seattle by scenic Highway 101, crossing the impressive Hood Canal, and finish up aboard the Bainbridge Island Ferry returning to a stellar view of the downtown Seattle skyline!
Walking Distances: 3 to 5 miles (flexible)
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Mt. Rainier & Olympic National Parks Tour Details
Standing alongside the cracking, crawling glaciers of Mt. Rainier in the meadows of Paradise. Taking time snapping photos of every color wildflower imaginable.
Encountering marmots, American Pika and Stellar's Jays as you amble along ridgeline trails. Spotting Washington's four other major volcanoes from the flanks of Mount Rainier.
Exploring the tranquil wilds and impenetrable vegetation of the Hoh Rainforest. Feeling humbled in cathedral Big Leaf Maples in the famed Hall of Mosses.
Watching sunset over the Pacific by campfire and recounting your favorite moments from the trip's adventures. Listening to the waves crash against the beach as the tides shift and change.
Looking for luminous purple lupine growing along the banks of the Elwha River. Beholding the rebirth of the Olympics' mightiest river as it restores ancient ecosystems home to Pacific salmon and roaming elk.
A TripAdvisor 'Hall of Fame' guide.
National Park entry fees.
Overnight accommodations at Cowlitz River Lodge for two nights and the Kalaloch Lodge for two nights.
Local, organic picnic lunches - served outside when the weather is right.
Most meals are included: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners (one dinner on your own in Packwood, WA).
Pick up and drop off in downtown Seattle.
Ferry fees and transportation throughout the tour.
Snacks, water, sparkling water, local wine, local adult beverages available throughout the tour.
Kalaloch Lodge is one of the iconic resorts within Olympic National Park. The Main Lodge was built almost 100 years ago with driftwood collected from Washington’s wild coast. For two days you’ll stay just feet from Pacific bluffs and beachfront, climbing over driftwood and the small streams that dump fresh water into the ocean.
The lodge has a delicious restaurant featuring Washington ingredients, a mercantile, and provides daily bundles of firewood for those staying in rooms with fireplaces!
Cowlitz River Lodge
This will be your home base for two evenings while you explore Mt. Rainier National Park! Cozy up by the fireplace in the great room at the end of the day and enjoy a night cap. All rooms have en suite bathrooms, WiFi, peace and quiet.
Five Breakfasts: Pastries, fruit, coffee & tea on Day One, hotel continental breakfast on Days Two & Three, freshly prepared buffee breakfast at Creekside Restaurant on Days Four & Five.
Five Lunches: Seasonal, organic picnic lunches served in the National Parks or lunch at a local family owned restaurant.
Three Dinners: Two dinners in historic National Park Lodges and one beachside campfire dinner prepared by your guide. Enjoy one dinner on your own at a restaurant of your choosing in Packwood, WA.
Snacks, water, sparkling water, local wine and other adult beverages available throughout the tour.