Mount Rainier: Grove of the Patriarchs

This hike is easily one of, if not the most, popular one in all of Mount Rainier National Park. A short, 0.6 mile roundtrip walk in the Southeastern corner of the park takes visitors through a very old growth forest of Douglas firs, hemlocks and cedars, some of them the biggest trees I have ever seen.

At the beginning of the walk, there is a very short incline that would only be difficult for someone with mobility issues. The whole hike is wooded and on a very well maintained path. It almost gives you the feeling of walking through a lush rainforest, with moss coating the dense growth on the sides of the trail.

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There are many uprooted giant trees along the path that make you feel almost like you are in that movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”. I definitely wouldn’t want to have been around when they fell, but they make for some great scenery, now permanent stalworths on the trail.

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One pair of trees were even uprooted at the same time as their roots were intertwined, and fell in opposite directions…

Next, there is a neat suspension bridge to cross over a pretty blue stream.

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We then start to come upon what I think are the most impressive trees on the hike, the Twin Douglas Firs. Estimated at over 1400 years old, just one of these impressive beauties are bigger than my entire wingspan!

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The trail then takes you along a boardwalk amidst other very large, very old trees – some still standing, others not, and some simply growing out of fallen trees. Yes, the climate is so fertile out here, that dead trees can support whole new trees!

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The largest tree in width is surrounded by boardwalk on all sides so visitors can take in its magnum size. The year prior when we visited with John’s family, we literally could fit the entire family across its width for a photo! To be honest, it is hard for me to even fathom that this tree is real and not something built for Disney World, but it is indeed.

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The boardwalk then takes you past a fallen tree with some really interesting growth on it and that makes for some good camera candy…

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The rest of the trail retraces its steps but is never dull, as the atmosphere on this trail is so peaceful and pretty. One that will remain a favorite for me, it is definitely a trail worth the fight for a parking spot!

3 thoughts on “Mount Rainier: Grove of the Patriarchs

  1. John & Katie:
    Following your awesome trip and loving every location, picture and description.
    Thanks for sharing so much with us. Miss you both!
    Love, Aunt Dee

    Liked by 1 person

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