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Discover the Charming Towns Surrounding Mount Rainier National Park

When visiting the majestic Mount Rainier National Park, you're not only treated to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of an active volcano and its surrounding wilderness but also the opportunity to explore the quaint and welcoming towns nearby. These communities offer a comfortable place to stay, delicious places to dine, and a peek into the local culture and cuisine. Finding the right base for your Mount Rainier adventure can greatly enhance your experience.

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Published onDecember 13, 2023
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Discover the Charming Towns Surrounding Mount Rainier National Park

When visiting the majestic Mount Rainier National Park, you're not only treated to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of an active volcano and its surrounding wilderness but also the opportunity to explore the quaint and welcoming towns nearby. These communities offer a comfortable place to stay, delicious places to dine, and a peek into the local culture and cuisine. Finding the right base for your Mount Rainier adventure can greatly enhance your experience.

Gateway Towns to Mount Rainier

Ashford

Just six miles from the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park lies the small community of Ashford, one of the main gateways to the park. Ashford provides a range of lodging options from rustic cabins to comfortable inns, catering to different budgets and tastes. Local restaurants like the Copper Creek Inn offer hearty meals, perfect for fueling or winding down from a day of hiking, climbing, or exploring the mountain's slopes. Don't forget to try their famous blackberry pie, made from local wild blackberries.

Enumclaw

Positioned at a greater distance, roughly 45 miles northwest of the park, Enumclaw is the largest town in the vicinity and a hub for travelers. With a more extensive selection of hotels, B&Bs, and guesthouses, Enumclaw is ideal for visitors who prefer to be close to amenities like boutiques, cafes, and diverse dining options. The Rainier Bar and Grill is a local favorite that serves American classics and is known for its festive atmosphere.

Elbe

Travel 13 miles west from the Nisqually Entrance to find Elbe, a tiny town with a rich railroad history, famed for the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum. Lodging here is cozy and immersive, with a selection of cabins and the unique Hobo Inn, where you can stay in a converted train car. Dining in Elbe can be as unconventional as its accommodations, with the popular Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Company, offering meals aboard a stationary train car experience.

Slightly Off the Beaten Path

Eatonville

Eatonville is situated about 23 miles northwest of Ashford and offers charm with a quieter setting. It boasts modest accommodations close to the park, including motels and vacation rentals with picturesque views. The local cuisine here brings out an array of flavors. Visit the Cottage Bakery & Café for a bite of their delectable fresh-baked goods or satisfying comfort food that locals rave about.

Packwood

On the southeast side of Mount Rainier National Park, approximately 20 miles on the winding roads, is Packwood. A small, authentic mountain town, Packwood is enveloped by the beauty of nature and offers some of the closest accommodations to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier. Motels, lodges, and cabin rentals are available, providing easy access to both the park and the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Dining options in Packwood include authentic regional cuisine at places like the Blue Spruce Saloon & Diner, where the elk burgers come highly recommended.

Famous Local Dishes

While visiting the towns around Mount Rainier, you must indulge in the regional delicacies that define the Pacific Northwest's rich culinary heritage. The most well-known is probably the Pacific Northwest salmon, prepared in a multitude of ways - from grilled to smoked. Don't miss the chance to enjoy the hearty servings of wild game like elk or bison, particularly in the form of burgers or steaks, which reflect the region's hunting tradition.

Berry-based desserts, such as pies or cobblers made with locally-gathered huckleberries, blackberries, or blueberries, are another must-try. These sweet treats perfectly encapsulate the essence of the local flora and are a refreshing way to end a meal, especially after a long day of hiking.

For help with planning your trip and finding the best spots to stay or dine around Mount Rainier National Park, consider checking out the following helpful websites:

  • Visit Rainier (visitrainier.com): The official site for Mount Rainier tourism, providing extensive information on accommodations, dining, and activities in the area.
  • Mount Rainier National Park (nps.gov/mora): The National Park Service's site with essential visitor information, including park entrances, conditions, and educational resources.
  • TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com): A valuable resource for honest traveler reviews on hotels, restaurants, and attractions around Mount Rainier.
  • Yelp (yelp.com): An excellent place to read the latest reviews and find the top-rated eateries and accommodations as recommended by locals and visitors alike.

The towns surrounding Mount Rainier National Park offer not only convenient access to spectacular natural wonders but also a slice of local life in the Pacific Northwest. With a variety of accommodations and dining experiences available, you can enjoy the region's famous dishes and warm hospitality, ensuring your visit to Mount Rainier is both comfortable and memorable.

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