Since we discovered this beautiful national park in our own backyard just two years ago, I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to share it with my mom. Like me, she loves wildflowers and there’s no place that I’ve ever been that provides such a spectacular variety of flowers paired with the unbelievable rugged beauty of the Cascade Range. To my surprise, I think my brother and dad appreciated it just as much as we did.
We only had one short day to spend on the mountain. It’s a three hour drive from Portland and we didn’t get up to the park until almost noon. Sadly, we had read that Sunrise, located on the other side of the park was in full bloom so we spent most of our day driving there. Although the drive in itself is beautiful with scenic vistas and a magnificent view of the glaciers, the Sunrise Lodge area was not in bloom. It looked like we had missed it already. We spent an hour or so wandering around Sunrise, had lunch and headed back to paradise.
Although the website said Paradise was not yet at its peak, it seemed to us that it was. There were more blooms this year than in the previous two years that we visited. By the time we arrived at Paradise, the sun was getting low and we were tired and hungry. We spent about an hour and then headed back to town to get checked in to our cabins.
There aren’t a lot of places to stay in the park. The two small lodges, like most national park lodgings, are booked months ahead of time. We’ve had good luck finding accommodations in the little town of Ashford right outside the main gates though. For the past two years, we’ve stayed at the Mount Haven Resort and RV park. It’s family friendly and the cabins are spacious and clean!
We really enjoyed the 24 hours we spent at the park. My only regret was that we didn’t have a bit more time to spend at Paradise. The old lodge is neat and it’s definitely worth seeing – not to mention, they serve a great breakfast. It’s something to look forward to doing next time we return!