We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Michigan
Level Contributor
29 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

We are a family of 5 and will be arriving at SEA-TAC late afternoon on 6/30 coming from the eastern timezone. We have Sunday on our own before other extended family will be joining us in the Seattle area for the rest of the week. It is my husband, myself, kids ages 15, 12, and 7. We really want to use that Sunday to experience the PNW and hike and spend time outdoors. We are in reasonable shape, but not used to elevation etc. The 7 year old just did a 3 mile hike with his cub scout troop last weekend for reference (again not at elevation, but good info).

We are staying in the Lynnwood area and google maps says it will be a 3 hour drive one way to get to Paradise. I would love to do MRNP. I am not sure though if it is crazy to try to drive that early the next morning after flying, although the jet lag should be helping us get up early easily.

I was looking at hiking the Skyline loop which looks amazing, but I am not sure if we will be able to get there before it gets crowded on a Sunday morning...thoughts? If the Skyline trail conditions are good and we go, would you add on any of the other short stops/hikes/overlooks to the day?

If we don't do the Skyline loop, which combinations of short hikes/scenic points etc would you do?

I am interested in any advice. I do know about the trail cams etc..so I will watch those as we get closer and that will help decide about Skyline.

I am also open to other hiking outdoor options closer to the coast if you think I am crazy for trying to go over and back in a single day to MRNP.

Thanks for any and all advice.

Kate

Mentioned in this post
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Lynnwood
Lynnwood
Washington
Skyline Trail
Skyline Trail
233 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
9 replies to this topic
Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,441 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Is there any, any way you can cancel Lynnwood that first night, and stay anywhere south of the airport/closer to the park? Even in Puyallup would help.

If not, definitely use the jet lag. It's highly unlikely it will only take 3 hours from Lynnwood; it takes me 3 hours from my Greenlake/Seattle area home with no entrance backups, and on a July weekend day, you can count on lines at the entrance. The park has already seen backups of 4 miles at the Nisqually entrance booth this year. If you are early enough you will beat those. And, you could, instead of Paradise, go to Sunrise (if it's open--double check), which will be slightly less crowded.

After Skyline, if you do that, you could just continue east and go home out the 410/NE entrance, stopping where you like. I think the snow on Skyline will weed out a lot of people. You can do it counterclockwise and lose some people that way also. Most do it clockwise it seems.

Mentioned in this post
Lynnwood
Lynnwood
Washington
Puyallup
Puyallup
Washington
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
68,022 posts
122 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Here is an excerpt from someone's August 2011 Trip Report. The family visit Mt Rainier on a Thursday. Traffic wasn't as bad seven years ago.

"We attempted an early start to Mt. Rainier; unfortunately, once again, we hit much traffic. It took close to an hour to get outside Seattle. There was no escaping it, even on back roads. We left around 8 a.m. and never arrived at Sunrise in Rainier until 11:30….very frustrating. I really didn’t think it would take that long to get there. Once we got outside the Seattle suburbs, it wasn’t bad…that was what took the time. The snow covered mountain was simply larger than life and amazingly beautiful. Since we knew we had to make it back to Edmonds that evening, we took the easier trails that provided great views of Emmons Glacier and the wildflowers, which were in full bloom. Looking back at my Rainier pictures, it’s amazing how gorgeous this area is. Between the abundant flowers and evergreens, the air smelled fresh and clean. We really liked seeing Rainier, but it was a long drive from there to Edmonds, and if I were to ever return, I’d opt to stay much closer so we could spend time at not just Sunrise, but Paradise, Tipsoo Lake, and the Grove of the Patriarchs. We were very tired this day, mainly due to time constraints and stress of driving near the city. From what the hotel staff told us, they are used to the traffic and just allot more time. I guess us east coast people are just too impatient."

Mentioned in this post
Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier
1,465 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Grove of the Patriarchs
Grove of the Patriarchs
262 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,441 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

They are going on a Sunday. They won't have issues on the roads. But even on weekdays when I go there from Seattle for the day I'm going opposite traffic the whole way. For me the issue is just driving north from the airport to stay then having to drive back south again, plus the entrance lines and parking issues if they don't get there very early.

Mentioned in this post
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Michigan
Level Contributor
29 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Hi all. Thanks for the replies. We might be able to do a stay down closer to Puyallup that first night. It sounds like that is the way to go. If we leave from Puyallup by say 6:30-7 am on Sunday I imagine we ought to be able to get ahead of the rush? I don't know, I have never been to Washington at all and I don't know when we will be back.

What about leaving the park on a Sunday afternoon? Is it a pain to get out of the park and driving back north to Lynnwood?

Thanks

Mentioned in this post
Puyallup
Puyallup
Washington
Lynnwood
Lynnwood
Washington
Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,441 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Yes, I think leaving at that time from Puyallup you will get ahead of the big rush, particularly if you leave at 6:30. No, you shouldn't find traffic leaving the park, though if you leave via the Nisqually entrance--the same way you came--there may be a parade of cars. It's just a slow windy road that is heavily used. Another reason to leave via the NE entrance.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
2,242 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

It's highly unlikely it will only take 3 hours from Lynnwood; it takes me 3 hours from my Greenlake/Seattle.

--------------------

From Lynnwood you would take 405, not I-5 then you take 167. It could even take less time than Green lake because you don't have to go thru Seattle.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 12:56
Mentioned in this post
Lynnwood
Lynnwood
Washington
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Michigan
Level Contributor
29 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Ok so we resolved that we are staying close to Tacoma Mall for the night before and will be able to leave from there Sunday morning. We are going to grab a filling breakfast at Original Pancake House and then head into the park. I figure we should be able to leave from breakfast by 6:45-7:00 maybe?

So knowing that, what hikes should we try to hit? Several shorter ones? How should we divide the park up? So far things that look great are the Panoramic Point and/or Skyline Trail, Patriarch of the Groves, any waterfall trails. Given that it is a Sunday should we do Paradise first and then leave and head for a less crowded section of the park late morning? Any tips would be great.

Mentioned in this post
Tacoma
Tacoma
Washington
Skyline Trail
Skyline Trail
233 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
831 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

... still a LOT of snow up at Paradise. A lot of the subalpine and alpine trails out of Paradise are at their most difficult to hike stages now, and may well still be when you travel - due to quickly melting snow/slush**. Having said that, the Visitors Center there is really nice - and the views from there of both the Mountain and the immediately adjacent Tatoosh Range are spectacular. Watch the wta.org trip reports for up-to-date information about the status of Skyline Loop, Panorama Point, and others out of Paradise. The Box Canyon on Stevens Canyon Rd. and the Grove of the Patriarchs/Silver Falls trails are also short but very nice hikes. I think the Comet Falls trail will still be too hazardous to hike when you're here - but it merits watching the wta.org trip reports for that trail to see if it becomes safe a bit quicker than usual. There are several waterfalls right by the road to Paradise - Christine Falls (near the parking area for Comet Falls trailhead), Narada Falls, and Myrtle Falls all have viewing points near the roadway).

They're making very good progress on plowing Sunrise Road and the parking areas at Sunrise, so it's quite possible the road to Sunrise will be open when you're here. They are now expecting to open the Sunrise Visitors Center on the 28th of June - so you may want to consider a drive there too (or instead of Paradise). Sunrise Road is a beautiful drive, with some pretty spectacular viewpoints near the top. You may also want to pay attention to the wta.org trip reports for the trails out of Sunrise (Fremont Lookout, Sourdough Ridge, etc.) to see if people are hiking on those trails near the time of your visit. They may still be under too much snow then - but it's worth checking. There are some really nice, short hikes there too and they often melt out before Paradise's upper level trails.

** - while the Skyline and Panorama Pt. trails may be slushy and otherwise more difficult to hike, they will still be open and almost certainly hikable, it's just a matter of what conditions your comfortable hiking in. The rangers at the visitors center are GREAT resources for this - have a chat with them before you head out.

Dave

Edited: 18 June 2018, 04:12
Mentioned in this post
Grove of the Patriarchs
Grove of the Patriarchs
262 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Comet Falls
Comet Falls
46 Reviews
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Narada Falls
Narada Falls
107 Reviews
Paradise, WA
Michigan
Level Contributor
29 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1

Thanks for all the info Dave! Yes I am familiar with wta.org and will be checking there frequently as we get closer to our trip. Maybe I will just kind of wait and see until this time next week or so and then make a plan after some hike reports are updated. I am fine with several shorter hikes, and if the conditions on the upper trails are still snowy I will definitely check with a Ranger before we venture out.

Reply to: 1 Day Trip from Lynnwood - July 1
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted