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At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the fifth highest mountain in the continental 48 states.  Packwood, Washington is home to a total of 86 mountain summits and peaks.

There are 2 ways to get there in the spring, summer and fall.   Go east on Highway 12 out of Packwood for about 7 miles.  Take highway 123 left to the entrance to the park called the Stevens Canyon entrance.  After you are in the park are hundred’s of trails, overlooks, alpine lakes and waterfalls to stop at as you climb to the main visitor center at Paradise and Paradise Inn.  You can also get to Mt Rainier National Park via Skate Creek Road and the Nisqually entrance.  In Packwood, to the right of the Shell station is Skate Creek Road.  This is a windy road that follows the river.  This is a beautiful river with many spots to stop along the way for fishing and wading.  It’s about 20 miles till you get to the end and then go right to the Nisqually entrance of the park.  This way to Paradise also hosts many many trailheads, waterfalls and picnic areas to stop at.  In the park don’t miss Nisqually Falls…spectacular!  After reaching Paradise take some time to do some hiking.  In summer the restored wildflower areas are beautiful.  You can drive the whole loop back to Packwood.  If you came in the Steven’s Canyon or Nisqually entrance go back the other way…both access roads are worth the drive and the views and lead back to Packwood.  This loop is a total of about 75 miles.  If you are staying with us in Packwood and only have one day and want to get a good overview of the park, this is the trip for you.  Start early in the morning if you want to drive up to Paradise.  There is limited parking up there.


Off Stevens Canyon Rd

– Grove of the Patriarchs – After you enter the Stevens Canyon entrance to Mt Rainier National Park STOP in the first parking area to the right.  The hike is only about 1 mi and you cross over a cool bridge over the river and enter an elevated walk way system that features some of the oldest and largest douglas fir trees you have ever seen.  This is a great hike for the kids and grandparents!  A must when staying in Packwood, WA!  Hike 1 mi

-Box Canyon –  one of the most unusual features in the park, and Nickel Creek Camp is a rustic backcountry retreat perfect for kids’ first backpacking adventure. The trail explores the rim of the deep chasm of Box Canyon before swinging out through the forest for a woodland ramble into the Nickel Creek valley along this short section of the Wonderland Trail. Hike 2 mi

-Bench and Snow lakes – are found just above the head of the Stevens Canyon Road, but you’ll feel like you’re deep in the backcountry once you immerse yourself in the cool lakes basin. The lakes are clear and pristine, and the upper lake, Snow, is nestled in a snow-filled cirque with fabulous views up to Unicorn Peak. Bench Lake boasts a great view of Mount Rainier. Hike 2.6 mi

-Lake Louise Trail – From the shores of Reflection Lake, this trail leads down jumbled talus slopes to the cold blue waters of Louise Lake, a pretty pool beneath the rocky wall of lower Mazama Ridge. The trail is gentle and kid-friendly, and since access is so easy, it makes a great stroll on a hot summer day. Hike 2 mi

Westside Road Trails

– Narada Falls  -in the midst of the Paradise River pounds down into a deep plunge pool, sending out a curtain of spray that provides a refreshingly cool breeze to hikers on this route. You hike the falls from top to bottom before climbing through salmonberry brambles and rich forest ecosystems to reach the upper trailhead at Reflection Lakes. Hike 3 mi

– Comet Falls – This hike takes you by Comet Falls, one of the tallest falls in the park, named for its similarity to a comet’s tail. A short ascent through enchanting forest to a waterfall that drops over a 300-foot cliff. This hike takes you past two other waterfalls before you reach the highest waterfall accessible by trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Hike 3.8 mi

-Longmire Visitor Center – this area has many trial head along with a restaurant and gift shop.  Ask the ranger if he can recommend some trails for your hiking level in this area.


Stay with us, you will not be disappointed!


Call anyday 9-9 PST for information and reservations.  We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome!


Packwood Lake is worth the 4 mi hike!

From downtown Packwood go up Snyder Road (Across the street from the Shell Station) and go until it ends, 5 miles.  This parking area is the trailhead for Packwood Lake.  You will need a Parking Pass to park here so make sure you purchase one in Packwood at the sports shop before you go up.  This trail is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  From here you can pre-arrange horseback rides in.  You can take the trail (4.5 miles).  This is an easy trail and has some views but it is mostly in the woods.  The best route is the access road below the parking area.  Here you will experience some of the most astounding valley and Mt Rainier views from any place in Packwood.  Or you can go in one way and then come back the other.  This trail is the first trail where the snow melts and you still have an amazing mountain feel.  You will enjoy all the wildflowers that start to spring up in May including vanilla leaf, flowering current, salmonberry, vine maple, Oregon grape, yellow violets and pinedrops, the tallest saprophyte in our region.  Strong hikers can continue on the Packwood Lake trail to campsites and connections to other destinations including Mosquito Lake and Lost Lake.

There hasn’t been a general store or a resort at the lake since the 1980s.  The only structures at the lake today are the Guard Station and a historical Ranger Cabin under restoration.

Packwood lake, two miles long  and .6 miles wide.  On a clear day there are views of Johnson Peak; even on a cloudy day hikers will enjoy the view of Agnes Island not too far out from shore. Local lore has it that the island is named after the wife of the man who owned and operated the resort. Locals also call the island Wizard or Enchantment Island.

You can hike all the way to the lake and if you are energetic hike around the lake too.  Or just go in a few miles with a picnic lunch and sit and gaze at the valley below.

Have Fun!

When in Packwood stay with Great Northwest Cabins for a quality rustic elegant cabin experience.  Our Mt View Cabin is off of Snyder Road just below the Packwood lake trailhead.

Our website is

Call for information and reservations at 503-492-8783 anyday from 9-9 PST.

We take visa of mc and dogs are welcome!

White Pass Ski Resort

It’s amazing over the years how popular White Pass Ski Resort (I call it a resort – sounds more classy) has become.  We built our first cabin in Packwood years ago and it all started that first winter…the phone calls.  People wanted to rent our cabin to go skiing at White Pass.  This is the reason why we built our first cabin…I was addicted to skiing.  We knew that with our busy lifestyle we needed a place to go when we wanted to just relax and unwind.

We discovered White Pass one weekend after packing up the whole family, all their skies, poles, boots, clothing and food to go skiing at Crystal Mt.  A few weeks prior to this we attempted to go skiing at Crystal and the parking lot was full and they turned us away at the bottom of the access road.  Can you believe that it happened a second time?  Yes, here we were, 3 kids, all their gear and after and hour and half drive we get turned around for the second time.   Now I can’t tell you how angry and disappointed I was.  We drive back down the hill to Graham (that’s Graham, WA where we lived at the time) and resolved not to do that again.  We had heard about this smaller ski area called White Pass and we decided to give it a try.

That next weekend we headed to White Pass with the family.  Packed the car, the equipment, the clothes, the food and drove the 2 hours to White Pass.  About 15 miles before the ski area we passed through this little cute town called Packwood.  We were like WOW, that’s cool, a little ski town.  It was a few years later that we explored the town and area only to discover that many people had the same idea…Ski Town…Ski Area…Ski Town…Ski Area…realizing that there were not too many places in the northwest that had little ski towns close to the ski hill.  Packwood was this little peninsula of a town surrounded by mt peaks on all 3 sides and above them all was the majestic Mt Rainier.  It was soon thereafter we bought our first piece of land for $7000 and built that first cabin.  This was the beginning of Great Northwest Cabins.

At the top of Paradise Basin!

Needless to say our first experience at White Pass was a pleasure.  It was, at that time, a smaller family area that was very kid friendly.  You can pull right up to the lodge and unload all your gear and bring your kids right into the childcare.  We were impressed with the childcare, the room, the toys, the staff, were all very helpful.  They have a great program where they take your kids out to play in the snow.  They put them on little kid skies with the goal of helping them to have a good first experience sliding around in the snow.  All 3 of our kids learned to ski at White Pass.  There are 2 free lifts for beginners, the magic carpet and platter…a great learning environment and oh yes did I mention FREE!  Today our whole family is avid skiers and we love our annual ski trips to White Pass.

We had heard about this expansion plan that White Pass was working on for over 2 decades.  Because it was taking so long no one in town really believed it would happen.  Well kudos to the staff at White Pass because it did happen.  White Pass doubled its skiable acreage with 2 new lifts and a beautiful mid mountain lodge.  When you venture back to this new area called “Paradise Basin” you feel like your skiing little Whistler.

So what does a day look like for the Trombi family at White Pass?  Well, we first get up at about 7:30 at the cabin and get ready to head up the pass which is only 12-15 mi away, depending on what cabin you are staying at.  We make our own lunch, sandwiches and top Ramon are in order with drinks and snacks packed in the backpack.  Highway 12 (now the White Pass Scenic Byway) is so well taken care of you rarely ever have to put chains on unless it’s just dumping as you head up.  We still pull right up to the lodge, even though our kids are older now, to unload the skies and equipment.  The family heads in to put their boots on and get ready for a great day!

I park the car and head over to buy the lift tickets and then head into the lodge to put my boots on.  After attaching all lift tickets, with back pack lunch in tow, we head up the Great White quad lift.  At the top we now ski over to the Basin Quad and take that up as well.  Our first stop is the new lodge called High Camp.  This is a beautiful new timber lodge with a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. It’s a great place to take a break or eat lunch after skiing the runs of Paradise Basin. We stash our lunch here and get ready to ski the basin for the first half of the day.  First we head to the detachable quad called the Coulier Express just right below the lodge.  This is the highest lift at White Pass and accesses all the great runs of the basin.  Most are great cruisers.  When it’s clear there is no better view of Mt Rainier and the surrounding peaks anywhere in the state of Washington.

White Pass gets over 400 inches of snow every year so it is not unusual to have fresh powder every other day even late into the season.  And because this area leans more towards the east side of the Cascades the snow is a lot drier then say Crystal or Stevens Pass.  I went skiing with some friends last year in April and we had sunshine and 8″ of fresh POW.  It was perfect.  Once you get off the lift and go right towards the West Ridge Access Trail and you have all the back country glade and bowl skiing your legs can handle.  That day we were skiing the open fields of powder all morning making fresh tracks up till lunch time.

Spring Skiing POW in Paraside Basin Bowl

After a morning of cruising and fun we head to the High Camp Lodge.  Time to eat!  There is nothing like a great lunch after a morning of crusing.  The lodge offers some great food and microbrews if you didn’t bring your lunch.  On a sunny day sit outside as the staff fires up the bbq and serves it up.  For dessert my kids love the homemade brownies and cookies.

High Camp Lodge at Paradise Basin, White Pass

After skiing the back side we over to the front side.  You can ski past the Yurt to chair 4 and take that back up to the top or you can ski all the way to the base and take Great White up again.  It’s fun either way.  Now it’s time to ski our old time favorite trails like Cascade and Holiday.  I’ll never forget my youngest daughter at 6 years old.  She had taken classes for a few years and I would take her out and she would ski between my legs.  That year we headed to Holiday and she insisted that she could do it alone.  I pushed her off and she just started going, turning and screaming for joy.  I never from that point on had to ski with her between my legs.

After cruising down Cascade my kids love to take every little trail and shoot…so much fun.  And perhaps maybe a run down Cascade Cliff or the famous mogul trail Holiday Cliff.

The last area that we love (this used to be refereed to as back side) is the 4 trails surrounding chair 4…Paradise, Quail, or Grouse.  On the Paradise Trail is our traditional 3:15 stop at the famous White Pass Yurt.  This place has character and is full of people and families that have been stopping here for years.  Come on in and relax, warm up and get a big cup of hot chocolate, cold beer and another famous brownie.  Anyone we have ever taken skiing at White Pass has experienced the Yurt.  In spring, skiers and boarders are stewn out around the yurt laughing and enjoying the sunshine and atmosphere of a very special place.

The Yurt at White Pass

Time to head down and call it a day.  Tucking the cat track is in order.  A little poling and you are back at the lodge.  With no kids another drink in the bar next to the fireplace might be in order or perhaps the hot tub at the cabin is calling you only 12 mi away.

Drinks on the deck of White Pass main Lodge at the end of the day!

We all hope that mom put a stew in the crock pot at the cabin because we are sure hungry.  If not a Cruisers Pizza is always a great alternative in town.  Another beautiful day at the ever increasing popular White Pass!  Another relaxing night in the bedroom community of Packwood, WA…the still undiscovered Ski Town at the base of Mt Rainier!

For information about White Pass log onto

To rent one of our 4 custom built ski cabins log onto  or call us anyday from 9-9 PST at 503-492-8783.  We would be glad to answer any question you may have about our cabins!

We hope you stay with us, you will not be disappointed!

Silver Falls

When you are staying in Packwood a morning or afternoon visit is well worth your time to Silver Falls.  Go east on highway 12 from Packwood for 7 miles.  Go left onto highway 123 till you reach the Ohanapacosh Visitor Center and Campground.  It will be on your left.  Go in and park in front of the visitor center.  This is small  cozy visitor center with many exhibits and things to explore.  After you have learned about the mountain and the area,  take a fabulous 2 mi hike.  The trail begins right behind the visitor center.  It slowly meanders up past the hot springs.  Years ago there were hot spring baths and a resort here.  All that is gone now in an effort the return the area back to it’s natural state.  You can still smell the sulfur and touch the hot water coming from the ground.  The rest of the trail goes through a large growth forest and crosses over Laughing Creek.  After you cross the creek the trail rises to an intersection, go left down the hill to Silver Falls.  Once you round the bend you will be in awe.  Silver Falls is one of the most rushing and dramatic  falls in the park.  Bring the camera, there is a walking bridge that goes over the gorge and there are many opportunities for pictures and wildlife.

Silver Falls Gorge and Bridge

On the opposite side you can get close to the falls and feel the spray.  Don’t get too close it is slippery and dangerous.  This is a great hike for kids.  We have done this hike many times in the early morning or even after dinner in the summer while it’s still light out.

Have a Great Stay in our Great NW Cabin!

To reserve one of our cabins in Packwood go to

Or call us anyday from 9-9 PST at 503-492-8783

We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome

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 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

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

We accept visa or mc and dogs are welcome!