Our third and final close-to-home Sanity Staycation for summer 2020 had us searching for new hiking adventures south of Mount Rainier. And we found what we were looking for by discovering Packwood, Washington and the surrounding area.
The tiny town of Packwood, founded in the early 1800’s, has long been a jumping off point for Mount Rainier National Park. The first National Forest Service Ranger Station was here, and today most people make their living from summer tourists and winter skiers. But Packwood also was a logging community back in the day, and neighboring towns of Morton and Randle still serve in this capacity.
We loved the little cabin we rented at Moon Mountain Lodging, a collection of four cabins on a quiet and beautifully wooded piece of property about a mile from the town of Packwood. We stayed in the one bedroom Cedar Cabin and because of Covid, we used the small but efficient kitchen for all of our meals in the cabin. See this lovely spot here.
We got takeout one night at the White Pass Taqueria and it was amazing. And we visited the Packwood Brewing Company where social distancing was really easy on a week night. The beer was excellent and we played Scrabble while we drank our beer, and watched the giant elk walk right through the outdoor beer garden.
We have good friends who have a home in Packwood and we enjoyed one evening with them, and also played nine-holes with them at the members only High Valley Golf Course. Cutest little golf course I ever played at.
We enjoyed four different hikes during our visit to the area and I recommend all of them;
SNOW LAKE – a beautiful hike with a bit of elevation but only about 4 miles round trip, the hike to Snow Lake just inside Mount Rainier National Park near Paradise takes you to a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by forests and hills.
GROVE OF THE PATRIARCHS – anyone can do this easy and flat 1.5 mile loop trail within the National Park where 1000 year-old old-growth trees are a sight to behold. I’ve done this hike many times and every time I am dazzled by the majesty of it.
LAKE PACKWOOD – unfortunately we did this 9 mile round trip hike on a very wet and cold day, but we persevered through a beautiful forest trail that is well maintained. The lake used to house many Forest Service cabins and a handful still remain.
SHEEP LAKE – the trail to Sheep Lake is easy and it’s about 4 miles round trip. The lake is stunning and we visited on a fall day when the colors were at their best. The trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and continues on past the lake for many miles to Sourdough Gap and eventually Crystal Lake. You can make this hike a full day or just a short hike.
We did not continue up to White Pass Ski Area but it is about 20 minutes from Packwood and is a wonderful winter playground. Packwood is home to a handful of restaurants, bars, a wonderful bakery and one grocery store. There are many lodging options too. Learn more about visiting Packwood here.
Discovering Packwood Washington and the surrounding area turned out to be a perfect Staycation for us. I learned a lot about this area and hope to return again.
Check out our previous Sanity Staycation #1 to Whidbey Island and our Sanity Staycation #2 to a tree house in Fall City.
Despite my Summer of Miscontent, we have seen and done a lot, all while social distancing. It looks like this will be our life for awhile.
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