Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and the Columbia Gorge
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|Trip Length||6 days/5 nights|
|Arrive/Depart||Seattle, Washington/Portland, Oregon|
|Price||From $2,395 to $2,795|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
|*Price varies depending upon departure's group size.|
Day 1 (Seattle and Mount Rainier National Park) Meet your guides in Seattle this morning and head south for the 80-mile drive to Mt. Rainier National Park’s Nisqually entrance. There are some nice trails through old-growth forest in this area, and there might be a chance to walk through the historic buildings of Longmire. Settle in for the night at Ashford, just a mile from the park.
Day 2 (Mount Rainier National Park) Today we’ll get all the way to Paradise, famous for its glorious views and vibrant wildflower meadows (which are blanketed in the winter with an average 680 inches of snow). Rainier’s many hiking trails lead to crystalline high-mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, lush meadows, and scenic vistas of the peaks and glaciers. Whichever trail the guide chooses today will be heaven.
Day 3 (Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument) A 2-hour drive takes us to Mount St. Helens and the Johnston Ridge Observatory, with its interpretive center and phenomenal view of the blast zone. During the May 18, 1980 blast, a dark cloud of ash rose thousands of feet in the air and slurries of rock and mud ran down the volcano’s slopes. The park offers many viewpoints and miles of trails to explore, and we will discover crater views, lakes, lava flows, blown-down trees, mudflows, and old-growth forest.
Day 4 (Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument) Today we explore Ape Cave, the longest intact lava tube in the continental U.S. The trail through the lower cave is just under a mile long, and if the group would like to walk it, we can rent lanterns nearby. This afternoon we head up the spectacular Columbia River Gorge, an 80-mile canyon that cuts through the Cascade Mountains and forms the border between Washington and Oregon.
Day 5 (Columbia River Gorge) The Gorge offers endless opportunities for discovery. We might venture off onto some very unique trails with old growth and plunging waterfalls, and the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery are also fascinating to visit. The guide and group will confer and choose the best-sounding options for our last day in the Pacific Northwest.
Day 6 (Portland for departures home) The drive to Portland takes us past Multnomah Falls—second highest waterfall in the U.S. We arrive at the airport before we’re quite ready, to catch flights home.