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  1. Snow Play

To access snow play spots out of Packwood here are a few roads that go up into the mountains and snow line.  Packwood is only at the 1000’ level so the snow has to be low in order to reach snow in a reasonable amount of time on some of these road.  Some are plowed, some not.  You should carry chains and exercise caution and always have an emergency kit in the car with you at all times.  Contact the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to check the accessibility of these areas as there can be fallen trees from previous storms.  The Randle Forest Service Office number is 360-497-1103.

Highway 12 East towards White Pass – this is the most popular spot to go to.  At the ski lodge to the right is the perfect place the sled with the kids.  When you get cold head into the lodge for some hot chocolates and one of their famous brownies!  Snow play can also be found across the street from the lodge behind the condos surrounding Leech Lake.  The perfect place for cross country skiing, snow shoeing, winter hiking and some secret stash sledding areas!

Snyder Rd to Packwood Lake – this road is not gated and it is not plowed as well.  Drive to the snowline and find a place to pull off and play in the snow. No winter park pass is required.  If you can make it to the parking area it is well worth the hike in part or all to Packwood Lake.  There are 2 trails.  The trail head from the parking area that is in trees most of the time OR walk back down the road to the gate and the ATV trail.  Hike in a mile or so for some of the most spectacular views of Mt Rainier and the Packwood valley below.  This is a great spot to cross country ski or snowshoe.

Johnson Creek Rd 21 is west of Packwood of 12 – this road is not plowed as well yet it is traveled because there is a snow park up a ways where people park and snow mobile on groomed trails.

Cispus Rd 23 – Go west to Randle, in Randle go left onto 131 then go right onto 23.  This road is plowed for some miles and it follows the Cispus River…gorgeous!  It leads up into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest towards Mt Adams.  Once in the snow there are many spots to pull over and play, sled or snow shoe.

Skate Creek Rd – this road begins to the right of the Shell Station and goes up into the National Forest.  It is closed in the winter but you can drive high enough on paved road to reach the rushing creek and some when the levels are down around 1500-2000’

WHITE PASS SPORTS HUT is so cute and they rent skis, snowboards and snow shoes.  Snowshoes are only $15 a day.  They also know a lot about the area and what to do and where to go!

  1. Have a campfire at the cabin and cook s’mores and hot dogs.
  2. Sit in the hot tub and soak it all in and relax!
  3. Hang out at the Cowlitz River bank and take a walk in lower Timberline
  4. Visit the Packwood Library and check out some books or videos.
  5. At Blanton’s Supermarket checkout a DVDs from their rental room with all the top movies you will ever need!
  6. Winter Fishing – fishing is always open in the Cowlitz. Go down Skate Creek rd and before the bridge walk down to the left to access the river. The upper Cowlitz is stocked with Salmon all year long.
  7. Visit Mt Goat Coffee and Bakery in downtown Packwood. They roast their own beans and make fresh homemade muffins and cookies daily!
  8. Play Bingo at the Packwood Community Center every Friday, doors open at 6PM.
  9. Visit the White Pass County Museum in downtown Packwood

Winter hours start the Saturday following Labor Day and are Saturdays from Noon to 4 PM. If you are in the area and cannot make it on the days that we are open, please call the following phone numbers to arrange for a special tour. Dave or Martha 360-494-4031; Don 360-494-5343; or Janice 360-494-4007.

  1. Visit the Blue Spruce for some great food and kids are welcome. Many draft beers on tap. Every Tuesday night is ALL YOU CAN EAT TACOS for just $2.50.
  2. DeGoede Bulb Farm – Travel west on 12 to Mossyrock. This is a cute little town off highway 12. Past the light is DeGoede Bulb Farm.  This is a beautiful place to visit not just to buy plants and things but they also have a show garden you can walk through!

13 In Morton, our favorite stop is Spiffys.  They have the largest and best soft serve ice cream ever.  The outside food window is open all year.  Travel west on Highway 12 and go right into Morton and then take your next right.  Spiffys is down on the right.  Good burgers and fries too!

14  We really love Cruisers Pizza in Packwood.  Although spendy but there is really no crust like it anywhere.  They have been in Packwood for years and their recipe and goodness has not changed!

  1. Cliffdroppers Burgers are probably the best in Packwood. This family run restaurant has stood the test of time. They handcraft their burgers, the fries are generous too.  The milk shakes are not to be missed as well!
  2. Mount Rainier National Park – is open at the Nisqually entrance for winter recreation and hiking. Make it a day! From Packwood in winter go west on 12, go right at Morton (don’t forget Spiffys ice cream and the Mexican restaurant in Morton has good food and Margaritas as well) on highway 7 go to Elbe.  In Elbe go right onto 706 and head straight to  the Nisqually entrance to Mt Rainier National Park.  The Longmire Visitor Center and restaurant is open in winter and if you like brave the trip to Paradise (weather permitting) and sled, snowshoe and hike in the snow (traction tires and/or cahins are at times required).
  3. Historic Mineral Lake Lodge – This 3-story log lodge has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was built in 1906 to resemble the rugged elegance of a German wilderness hunting lodge. This is on the way from Morton to Elbe.
  4. Mineral Lake – Gem of the Northwest – Beautiful web site which showcases some of the highlights of the historic town that is home to the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. This is on the way from Morton to Elbe,
  5. Morton’s Roxy Playhouse – The newly renovated, 1930’s Roxy Playhouse offers onstage action, romance, and laughter captivating audiences through song, dance and dialogue.
  6. Morton Depot – Built in 1910, the two story frame building is one of the last of this type of Milwaukee stations in existence today!
  7. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park – Northwest Trek is a 715-acre wildlife park featuring a 435-acre free-roaming area tram tour. Pacific Northwest native species are exhibited in natural habitats.
  8. The Little White Church in Elbe – This beautiful 18 x 24 foot National Historical Monument still bears the original inscription placed there in 1906 “Ev. Luth. KIRCHE” (Evangelische Lutherische Kirche) a reminder of the people’s origin.
  9. Pioneer Farm Museum & Ohop Indian Village – Journey back to the 1880’s with your tour guides to experience homesteading in Washington. Journey back to a time before the first contact with Europeans to experience the seasonal Ohop Indian Village.

We hope that you stay in a Great NW Cabin this winter (or Summer).  See all our cabins here at Great NW Cabins or call us anyday from 9-9 PST for information and reservations.

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Crystal Mt Gondola is open in summer!

In summer there are so many faces of Mt Rainier.  When staying with us in Packwood here is an amazing day trip.  From Packwood go east on Highway 12 for 7 miles to highway 123, go left.  Go past Ohanapacosh Visitor Center and the Stevens Canyon entrance.  Eventually highway 123 changes into highway 410.

Some of you came in this way from Seattle to Packwood, or will.  You can actually take in these sights on your way to the cabin or the day you leave.  If you came to Packwood from the south like Olympia, Tacoma or even Portland don’t miss this day trip.

Along this windy road are so many Mt Rainier vistas it’s hard to know which one to stop at and take pictures, they are all so good.  Eventually you will reach the Sunrise access road on the left.  Visit the Sunrise lodge and visitor center.  Explore the meadows and area…breathtaking…with views of the Emmons Glacier.  Sunrise is the highest visitor center on Mt Rainier and has a museum with great exhibits including hands on things for the kids.   After a light lunch and hike venture back down to highway 410 and go left.

You will come upon the Crystal Mountain Boulevard on the right.  Take this access road up to ski area and park by the main lodge and gondola.  In summer you can purchase gondola tickets to the top and to Washington’s Highest Restaurant with #1 Views of Mt Rainier!

At the Summit House Restaurant you can eat lunch and dinner.  Reservations are highly encouraged.  For hours of operation and reservations go online to http://www.crystalmountainresort.com and click on “Dining and Activities” and then “Summit House.”

After dinner (they serve luch too) head back the same way you came, if you are traveling back to the cabin.  If it’s getting dark be careful of elk and other animals along 410 and 123.  If it’s clear, stop along the way and gaze up at the amazing star show in the sky!

We hope you enjoy your day at Sunrise Visitor Center and Crystal Mt!

Book your next Mt Rainier Vacation in our highly rated luxury cabins in Packwood, WA.

See all our cabins here at http://www.greatnorthwestcabins.com

Call us anyday till 9PM at 503-492-8783 for information or reservations.

We accept visa or mc and dogs are welcome!

Timberline Lodge in Summer!

When staying at the Mt Hood Cabin visiting Timberline Lodge is a must.    This is a peak NW experience in the summer or winter at 6000′.  As you enter the lower main lobby you will find the first large stone fireplace and a small museum.  I would first watch the 30 minute video of how the lodge was built.  It really gives you a great perspective of what it took to create such an amazing place so high up with so much snow in the early 30’s.   It was built by hundreds of hands eager to work after months or years of unemployment in the 1930s. Ninety percent of the men and women who built and furnished the lodge were hired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the federal agency created in 1933 to provide work for the hundreds of thousands of Americans idled by the Great Depression.

It was constructed and furnished by hand with original craft work in wood, wrought iron, weaving, applique, painting, mosaic, carved linoleum, and stained glass.  It is a living museum and houses a permanent, catalogued exhibition of American design, painting, and craft work.  It is a stunning mountain lodge for skiers, hikers, and nature lovers.

After watching the video and viewing the different historical artifacts you can actually take a tour and go places the normal public does not go.  The Guided tours are open Thursdays through Sundays at 11 am, 1 pm and at 2 pm. They are free.   For information  call 503-622-2033 or visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/.

In winter you can of course ski.  As a matter of fact you can ski all year long as this ski resort has the longest season in North America.  In the summer months skiing and boarding takes place on the upper Palmer Glacier.  So either take a scenic chair lift ride with out your boards or take a ride to the top and make some summer turns.  We have had many summer guests ski in the morning and then in the afternoon head down to the Resort at the Mountain and play a round of golf in the afternoon.  What a place!

The main lobby is of course the main attraction with large timber beams and central stone fireplaces.  Sit, relax, read a book and make this space your living room for the afternoon.  Hiking is also very popular on the mountain whether you are climbing to the top (with a guide of course) or just venturing out for a few hours to witness some great wildflowers and wildlife.  You can also select your own adventure tour by booking a ranger to be your guide for the Timberline Lodge Tour, guided hike or for campfire talk. For further information, please call 503-622-2033

Right off the main lobby is the main dining room, The Cascade Dining Room.  We love the breakfast buffet with waffles, bacon, fruit, pastries…so much food you will not need to eat lunch.  Breakfast goes till 10AM.  Dinners in the dining room are tasty and elegant and well worth the high end price.  Why not, you are on vacation!  The wine list is extensive and they have many great Oregon microbrews on tap.  Dinner reservations are encouraged especially with larger parties.  Call 503-272-3104.

If you missed breakfast and want some lunch then head up to the 3rd level balcony and enjoy the Rams Head Bar.  This is an ideal location for a family–friendly atmosphere.  Savor their food and drinks amidst the beauty of the mountains.    There are other places to eat and drink on the premises like the Blue Ox Bar, Ice Axe Grill and WyEast Dining Room.  Depending on the season and time of day you will find these facilities open.  Call the lodge for detailed information.

You can plan to spend a few hours or make it a full day but do not miss this lodge attraction.  It is one of the most visited tourist places in Oregon with over 2 million visitors per year and you are only 18 mi from our cabin to the lodge.  The roads in summer are clear.  In winter you will need either traction tires and/or chains.  If you are renting a car make sure you request chains with your rental.  You never know what will happen in spring and fall.  The roads are always well cleared.  Just always be prepared for mountain driving and carry an emergency kit with you.

For more information about the lodge log onto  – http://www.timberlinelodge.com

Or call 503.272.3311 (general information)

When planning your trip to Mt Hood stay with us at our Mt Hood Log Cabin.  You can see pictures and video at http://www.greatnorthwestcabins.com or call us at 503-492-8783 for information and reservations.  We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome.