Regional Guide

Family - Southern Cascades

For the backpacking family, the Windy Gap trail leads you into some of the most beautiful—and least visited—areas of Mount Rainier National Park. Part of the reason for the solitude is that the trail is rough and steep. You'll have to work a little to enjoy the beauty found here, but it's well worth it. Keep an eye peeled for blacktail deer and mountain goats.

Sledding in Paradise? The Snowplay Area in Mount Rainier National Park—located on the east side of the upper parking lot at Paradise—lets little ones slide down gentle slopes.

Stretch your legs on an easy hike (5.3 miles one-way) through Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Snowgrass Trail passes through a conifer forest and offers great views of Mount Adams.

Kids and adults alike will marvel at the volcanic aftermath visible at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Note the landscape's rebirth on the trails of the Mount Margaret backcountry, or hike to the crater's rim for a peek inside.

During your volcanic visit to Mount St. Helens, don't miss the Ape Cave—a lava tube created during an eruption about 1,900 years ago. Inside the two-and-a-half-mile tunnel, marvel at curious formations left by cooling volcanic debris.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 9 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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