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By this point in the game, you know our family loves kid friendly hikes. The Grove of the Patriarchs trail in Mt Rainier NP is no exception. While there are quite a decent amount of kid friendly hikes in Mt Rainier NP, the Grove of the Patriarchs trail is truly one of a kind in terms of natural beauty. Let’s dive into the deets on this worthwhile hike.
Getting To Grove of the Patriarchs Trail
Grove of the Patriarchs trail is located just over 2 hours outside of the SeaTac airport region during the spring, summer, and fall months. If you are traveling from this area, enter Mt Rainier NP through the White River entrance and head south on Route 123 for about 16 miles.
During the winter months Route 123 is shut down so you have to take an alternative route, adding about 1 hour to your travels. In this case, go through the Nisqually entrance and head East for about 34 miles.
No matter the direction you come in from, you will find the trail head off Stevens Canyon Road in the Ohanapecosh area of the park. There is a fairly decent sized parking lot for the trail, but keep in mind it can fill up quickly during busier months. Also at the trail head, you will find bathrooms and water fountains which is always a nice touch when hiking with kids.
About The Trail
The Grove of the Patriarchs trail is a 1.5 mile loop with a total of ZERO elevation gain. I don’t know about you, but my calves appreciate taking a break from crazy incline once in a while. If the length of the trail still seems scary, I promise there is so much natural beauty on this trail your child won’t even realize how far they’ve traveled.
The Grove of the Patriarchs trail begins with walking parallel to the Ohanapecosh River. Here the kids will not only enjoy watching the river flow, but exploring through the giant red cedars that line the path. After about half a mile, the trail takes you on suspension bridge over the Ohanapecosh River. Be sure to follow the safety signs that instruct one person at a time to avoid any injuries, but use your judgement whether your kids need guidance.
Once everyone is safely to the other side, there is a short path through smaller trees that eventually forks off. This fork is actually a circle so it doesn’t matter which way you choose to go. Inside the little loop is home to the highlight of the entire trail. You will encounter trees that are upwards of 50 feet in diameter and over 1,000 years old. (Pro tip: don’t sleep on the opportunity to read the signs about the island you are standing on and why these trees have been able to survive for so long.)
When you are finished with the loop, head down to view crystal clear waters of the Ohanapecosh River up close or simply go back the way you came. As I said before, the trail is a loop so you will take the same path back that you took in.
What To Pack And Wear
As with every hike, there are a few staples you should ALWAYS bring. The first, and probably most obvious thing, is enough water for every person on the trail. Your hiking pack should also have some form of bug spray since you are going in the woods and near water. If you’ve read any of my previous prepping for hiking posts, you know what’s coming next. Snacks. Dear lord, don’t forget the snacks!
If you have a younger child that can’t walk yet or might not be ready for a full 1.5 miler, I always recommend getting a hiking pack such as this option from Kelty. Not only are these packs durable and comfortable, but they have a toooon of storage so you don’t have to bring any extra backpacks for the other essentials.
What you wear for this hike is going to depend mostly on the time of year you are visiting. We completed the Grove of the Patriarchs trail in late September so we had long sleeves, but still got away with wearing shorts. Regardless of the time of year, I would suggest wearing a durable pair of waterproof hiking boots. Even if you don’t go down to the river, rain and mud happen so it is nice to have everyone’s feet protected. For ideas on where to find waterproof hiking shoes for the whole family, start here.
That wraps up this review of the Grove of the Patriarchs trail in Mt Rainier NP. As I mentioned before, this trail is super kid friendly and jam packed with some amazing nature. If I had to choose one hike in all of Mt Rainier to do over again, it would definitely be this one.
If you have ever hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs trail, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below. I would also love to hear about any of your other favorite trails in Mt Rainier NP. As always, please share this post if you love what you’ve read or think a friend could use the info. Don’t forget to sign up for my email list and follow me on social to stay up to date on the behind the scenes stuff. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our adventures out in Our Happy Place 🙂