When you visit Packwood, Washington and the surrounding area, you are treating yourself to one of the most beautiful parts of Washington State. This is a small community which is a real plus. When you go there you really feel like you’re getting away from it all. The main reason to go there though is to see all that the area has to offer. Here is a look at just five of the great experiences you can have when you visit Packwood yourself.
Paradise, Mt. Rainier
After a climb of over 20 miles on a winding road through thick forests and past several viewpoints and trailheads, you’ll finally reach Paradise. This is home to the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center where you can learn a great deal about Mt. Rainier. Also at Paradise is a small ranger station and the historic Paradise Inn. There are of course views of the mountain available all over the place so make sure to bring your camera.
Box Canyon of the Cowlitz
The Box Canyon of the Cowlitz is one of the more underrated roadside areas on the drive up to Paradise. When you get out of the car and follow the short trail you’ll find a unique display featuring a look at what some of the local rock looks like where it was scratched and polished by glaciers. There’s also a viewpoint where you can view the deep chasm that is the main attraction. Back up at the parking lot take a moment to stroll across the stone bridge where you can lean over and look 180 feet down into the Box Canyon of the Cowlitz. While there, take the time for a quick walk through the adjacent tunnel that you’ll soon be driving through on your way to Paradise.
A great local eatery worth experiencing is Cruiser’s Pizza in Packwood. When you walk in you’ll immediately feel welcome and see that this is the kind of place frequented by locals and visitors alike. There are large televisions for you and the kids to watch and a menu that goes way past the normal offerings of a pizza place. When the pizza arrives, if that is what you end up ordering, you can immediately tell that it’s of a high quality and well made. There’s more than enough toppings and cheese to please everyone.
Without a doubt, Narada Falls is one of the top things to experience when visiting Packwood. The view from the top of the falls is impressive, as is the view from the stone bridge over the Paradise River. The big payoff though comes when you take the trail down to the lower viewpoint. Prepare to get wet though because when you get there you’ll be standing right in front of the face of the falls and the mist can be pretty intense. On a hot day, this is really refreshing though. This is easily one of the more memorable stops inside Mt. Rainier National Park.
One of the most popular photo taking stops on the road up to Paradise is Reflection Lake. Once you pull up you’ll see that this is immediately recognizable as you’ve probably seen this view on postcards, calendars, and elsewhere. Making the shot your own though by making it the background to a family picture can provide you with the perfect keepsake from your visit to Mt. Rainier. There are also several trails that lead off in a couple of different directions in the Reflection Lake area and exploring even just a little bit of them can be a lot of fun.
One More Thing…
One additional thing that can help enjoy the Packwood area is finding the perfect place to stay. Anyone traveling there should check out Cowlitz River Cabins. These wonderful vacation homes feature first class amenities, beautiful surroundings, and easy access to everything you want to see in this amazing area of Washington State.
Online: Cowlitz River Cabins