A Seattle Must See: The Grove of the Patriarchs in the Mt. Rainier Park
What to Expect
The Grove of the Patriarchs is a walk through time and a reminder that we share this planet with some very impressive neighbors (photographs are a true injustice). Located on the east side of Mount Rainier, this hike is short, easy, and offers an amazing glimpse into a world of living giants rarely seen anywhere in the United states (Mt. Rainier National Park is 77 miles east of Seattle).
The trees reach a height of 300 feet (just short of the world’s largest tree, a Coast Redwood in California reaching 379 feet). The Grove of Patriarchs features some of the largest trees in the National Park, with the largest reaching 40 to 50 feet in diameter.
The Grove of the Patriarchs is a majestic grouping of old-growth trees located on a small island formed by the Ohanapecosh River. It is theorized that this thin ribbon of water has helped protect the (mostly) fir, hemlock, and cedar trees from fires and other disasters for over 1,000 years that have repeatedly struck Mt. Rainier. The result is you will see some of the oldest and largest trees in the northern Cascades, and the United states.
The beginning of the trial leading to the grove is relatively wide and flat; at 0.4 miles you will cross a bridge over the Ohanapecosh River. This suspension bridge will be an absolute hit with your children. This is a narrow suspension bridge so be mindful of the one-at-a-time usage rule.
Upon arriving on the island, the trail becomes a wooden boardwalk that loops for a quarter-mile through the trees and showcases some of the most dramatic firs and cedars in The Grove. You will be stunned by the 1,000-year-old twin Douglas firs and the nearby 15 foot wide western red cedar. After taking in the sights, you will return to the parking lot by re-crossing the bridge and walking out the same way you walked in.
The Grove of the Patriarchs is located on the east side of Mount Rainier: Drive to the Stevens Canyon entrance off of Highway 123, pass through the fee station (there is information below on entrance fees) and proceed west for 0.30 mile on Stevens Canyon Road to the parking lot and trailhead, clearly signed on the north (right) side of the road. The parking lot only holds about 25 cars and RVs, so plan on arriving early or visiting on a weekday.
- Hike: Grove of the Patriarchs
- Distance: 1.3 Miles Round-Trip
- Difficulty: Easy (You will not break a sweat on a hot day…You will come away amazed.)
- Elevation Gain: Approximately 100 feet (you will perceive this tail as flat)
- Time: About 45 Minutes
- Season: Mid-June until October
- Green Trails Maps: Number 269S, Mount Rainier Wonderland.
- Location: Mount Rainier Area, SE, Cayuse Pass/Steven’s Canyon
Wonderful Close-By (Short-Easy) Hikes You Might Want To Also Explore
Additional Grove of the Patriarchs Sources of Information
This report is updated when conditions change. You may also call the park for current road conditions at 360-569-2211 or use the road conditions link.
- Operating Hours & Seasons for Rainier Facilities
- Fees & Passes for Mount Rainier
- Complete Directions Information
From Packwood, drive east on HWY 12, cross the Ohanapecosh River and turn left onto SR 123. Follow the road past the Ohanapecosh Visitors Center and turn left onto Stevens Canyon Rd. Parking is available in the first area on the right, intersecting the Eastside Trail.
Google – Grove of the Patriarchs Photos
Flickr – Grove of the Patriarchs Photos