Tag Archives: Ashford

Where to Stay When You Come to Play

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Mt. Rainier National Park draws people from all over the world to its gates, spreading a respect for nature and the beauty it holds. It only fits that the surrounding area is just as unique and beautiful. The year-round Nisqually Entrance is located in Ashford, WA. The town is a mere 6 miles from the park entrance, and home to lodgings that turn a National Park trip into a vacation you’ve dreamed about- unless your dream vacation is at a chain hotel, then you’re out of luck. The charm of a small mountain town is magnified in its lodging owners. The hotels, cabins, spas, and inns are locally owned, and their managers a wealth of local information. As I said before, you won’t find a Best Western or an Applebee’s in Ashford, but you will find that each lodging is unique and full of character. While there is a long list of places to stay (visit our lodging page here), let us introduce a couple to you.

 

Bowman’s West Wind Woods rents two charming cabins. If you’re looking to escape from a city, these cabins may be perfect for you. Decorated with comfortable country décor, you’ll forget all about rush hour traffic and loud neighbors. Both cabins have 2 queen beds, with extra cots available, perfect for families or trips with friends. The larger of the cabins comes with a TV and DVD player, and a full kitchen, including the pots and pans you’d need, you only have to bring the food! The smaller of the cabins has a galley kitchen, with a ½ fridge and a microwave, perfect for visitors who plan on eating at the local restaurants during their stay. The cabins aren’t all that Bowman’s has to offer, there is also a covered picnic area with a barbeque available- there’s nothing better than a summer barbeque! And while you’re there, make sure to keep an eye on the meadow, where majestic herds of elk can often be spotted!

 

Stormking Spa and Cabins (check out our Spa Blog) is another unique choice for your stay. Choosing between the five cabins may be difficult, but you can’t make a wrong choice! In each cabin you’ll enjoy a private hot tub, gas fireplace, Stormking’s special blend of fresh-roasted coffee, herbal teas, and hot chocolate, and a complimentary breakfast plate. The cabins’ décor reflects the beauty of the Nisqually Valley while maintaining a luxurious feeling highlighted by the handcrafted aromatherapy soaps and beds so comfortable you might just forget about that hike you had in mind. Each cabin also has a microwave, refrigerator, coffee pot, and assorted dishes. Stormking has been featured in both ‘Northwest Best Places’ and ‘Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest’, it’s not hard to imagine why!

(Stormking’s Facebook)

There are so many great lodgings in the Nisqually River Valley, it’s easy to find one that’s right for you- check out the full list of lodgings here. We understand how important where you stay can be on a vacation, if you have any questions call the Visitor Center at 360-569-0910, or e-mail info@mt-rainier.com, let us help you find your perfect fit!

Relax and Reconnect at Mt Rainier

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Mt. Rainier is not just for outdoor enthusiasts, skiers, snowshoers, or get-up-and-go-er’s. Mt. Rainier also has an incredibly relaxing, luxurious, peaceful side! There truly is something for everyone here, which makes vacation planning SO much easier. With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’re going to explore some of the awesome spa options near Mt. Rainier- but you know that you don’t need a holiday to treat yourself to a relaxing weekend, right? Good, because these guys are open year-round!

Alexander’s Country Inn is a one-stop relaxation destination. Alexander’s Spa includes Full-Body Relaxation, Deep Tissue, Neck, Back, and Shoulder, Leg and Feet, and Personalized massages. Pay a little attention to that spot you tweaked lifting the too-heavy-for-one-person-to-lift-but-you-tried-anyways object, or to that stress not you’ve been developing from work. They want you to leave happy and relaxed. They also offer other treatments,  including facials, body polish, heated stones, packages, and more- check out their brochure here. You can also turn you’re your spa appointment into a weekend getaway by booking a room, Alexander’s Country Inn has a  complimentary  full breakfast served in it’s restaurant, a hot tub overlooking their trout pond, and complimentary wine by the fireplace. Top all that off with being a mere mile from the Nisqually Entrance to Mt. Rainier!

The turn before Alexander’s is Stormking Spa. Stormking offers many different wraps, polishes, relaxing baths, and massages. Their most popular are their couples packages, check them out, possibly receive the long term benefits of each of you being taught to give a massage by a professional, I can see that coming in handy when you head back to the stress of work and life! They also have great packages just for you, everyone needs to enjoy some alone time once in a while! Remember, you aren’t restricted to packages, if you only want a massage, or a seaweed wrap- no problem! This weekend is all about you after all. Once you’ve relaxed from one of their services, you can extend the relaxation by venturing out to the hot tub or sauna by the creek, or stay the night in one of the cabins and enjoy your own private hot tub! Stormking helps you achieve true mountain bliss.

I’m about to make your life harder, because we have yet another fabulous spa choice! Wellspring Spa keeps it simple, offering massages, hot tubs, and saunas, and simple works! This is perfect for those looking for a low-key environment that helps you relax your body and your mind. Don’t forget to take a stroll through Wellspring’s property to check out their unique cabins (we’re serious about the unique part!), tranquil ponds, and perfectly placed seating areas that will help you to reconnect with you.

There are so many unique lodgings in Ashford, you’re bound to find the perfect one for you and your needs. If that perfect cabin, hotel, or lodge doesn’t happen to be Alexander’s, Stormking, or Wellspring? No problem, you can still enjoy spa treatments if you’re not staying with them! Find the combination that will make your stay relaxing and fun, grab a bottle of wine and some snow gear, and head towards the mountain!

DNR Horse Camp

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Looking for a place to camp that can accommodate a large RV outside the west entrance of Mt. Rainier Nat’l Park?  Or perhaps you are looking for a place to camp when the auto campgrounds at Mt. Rainier close on Sept. 29th, 2013. Look no more! As long as you can live without hookups and can pack out your own garbage, the Sahra Creek DNR Horsecamp is just the place for you.

The DNR Horse Camp is located about 8 miles from the west entrance to Mt. Rainier, in a beautiful wooded locale.  The sites are large and plentiful, there are pull-through spots that can accommodate large RVs, and most of the sites have picnic tables and fire grates.  There are two water spigots and a couple of fairly nice pit toilets, and there’s a central grass area that has horse shoe pits if you bring your own shoes.  There is even a building in the center of the camp with over a dozen picnic tables – perfect for a group gathering when the weather isn’t optimal.

The campground accesses a large system of horse trails, meaning that summer weekends and holidays during the summer finds the campground filled with horse trailers. However, mid-week and into the fall season, the campground is very quiet. Since this is a horse camp, you can expect to find some horse “residue,” though most folks are good about cleaning up after their animals. Pets and tent camping are welcomed! This is a great family-friendly place, although the grounds are quite open – so privacy is minimal.

The campground is free to use, but a Washington State Discover Pass is required.  These passes can be obtained at sporting good stores, anywhere a fishing or hunting license are sold, or at the AVG gas station in Ashford (approximately 2 miles east of the DNR horsecamp).  Licenses are $30 for a yearly pass or $10 for daily passes (with transaction and dealer fees the totals are $35 or $11.50), and can also be bought online here: http://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/.

The DNR horse camp is located approximately 5 miles east of Elbe.  When heading east, the DNR sign and drive will be on the left side of the road.  The Visitor Center is just two miles further east in Ashford, and the Mt. Rainier west entrance is less than a 10 minute drive away.

Happy camping!

Address: 262nd Ave E, Ashford, WA 98304
South Puget Sound Region DNR phone: 1-800-527-3305

Lake Alder adventures

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Trying to get out of the crowds, and into some water?  With this heat wave, it can be great to take a break from hiking in the sun, and spend part of your Mt. Rainier visit lounging on Alder Lake!

About 15 minutes before the Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier lay one of the jewels of the Nisqually Valley.  As the Nisqually River flows from the Nisqually Glacier, through the park, and through Ashford (passing just a mile from our Visitor Center), it empties it’s jade-colored water into Alder Lake at Elbe.  Formed by Alder Dam, Alder Lake stretches 7 miles, past the town of Alder, winding along HWY 7.

There are three fantastic parks for your family’s enjoyment (all part of the Alder Lake Park system).  If you have a paddleboard, kayak, canoe, motorboat, jetskis, or other water vessel – bring it along! Park fun includes swimming areas, boat launches, barbeques, bathrooms, playgrounds, and plenty of picnic space – but not all three parks include all facilities.  Read on for the what’s what of Alder Lake summer fun!

Driving west from the Ashford Visitor’s Center on SR 706, you’ll reach Elbe after 7 miles, and join HWY 7.  Drive through Elbe, and you’ll see the first park, Rocky Point Campground on your left.  With the least facilities of the three parks, Rocky Point is best used for it’s boat launch, camping and fishing.  There are a couple of picnic tables, but there is not a swimming area. There are 25 campsites with electric and water hookups, and a bathroom facility. You can fish for largemouth bass, rainbow and cutthroat trout from this westernmost area of the lake, and the boat launch is free of charge.  It is a great option for launching the boat when the other parks are super-busy! More info can be found at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/alder-lake-park/rocky-point-campground.htm

Sunny Beach Point is 3 miles further west along HWY 7. There is a swimming beach, a sheltered picnic area, restrooms, and 20 picnic tables with grills. Sunny Beach Point is open May 15th – September 15th, and there is always free entry.  No alcohol allowed, and there is no camping. Pets are welcomed on-leash. More information can be found at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/alder-lake-park/sunny-beach-point.htm

Alder Lake Park is .6 miles west along HWY 7 from Sunny Beach Park. Alder Lake Park is the most expansive of the parks by far, with a swimming area, boat launch, and 149 campsites. There are coin-operated showers and restrooms.  The park has free entrance on weekdays, and a $5 parking fee on weekends and holidays.  If the day-use parking lot is full, the gates will be closed, but that does not mean the park itself is closed! Open year-round.  More info at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/alder-lake-park/

Bring your family, dogs, swimsuits, and a picnic blanket and soak in the beauty of Alder Lake.  Summer doesn’t get much better than lake swimming, bbqing, boating and camping!

Details:

Rocky Point Campground
52910 Mountain Highway E
Eatonville, WA 98328

Sunny Beach Point:
50316 Mountain Hwy E
Eatonville, WA 98328

Alder Lake Park
50324 School Rd
Eatonville, WA 98328

For all 3 parks (all part of the Alder Lake Park system):
Park office: (360) 569-2778
Fishing and recreation line: (888) 502-8690

*Note – while State Highway 7/Mountain Highway is closed to through traffic for construction this summer, the parks are still accessible, as they are considered local traffic. Coming from the south, continue through road closure signs.  From the north, follow the detour routes, until you can pass the road closure signs from the south as directed above.