Paradise & Stevens Canyon MT. Rainier

Trip Date: 7/15/2007


  • Elbe WA
  • MT. Rainier National Park
  • Paradise
  • Nisqualy River
  • Stevens Canyon
  • Reflection Lakes
  • Hyw 12
  • Packwood
  • White Pass Sports Hut (Lunch)
  • Randal
  • Morton

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  • Falling Rock
  • Narrow Shoulders
  • Deer
  • Poor roads dips, bumps and pot holes (National Forest)

Paradise Stevens Canyon
MT. Rainier WA

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 16.8 MB) WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT Rainier Reflection Lakes Washington

Trip Details:

It was getting around time to make a trip up to Paradise near MT. Rainier. I have ridden this ride many times but this one would be different. This was my first time up since the flood damage from the 2006 storms. News footage and word of mouth pretty much madethe point that it's a different park since the flooding. I found another rider to make the trip with me and we decided to do it on a Sunday. We have all heard the term "Sunday drivers" right? Well, I guess we ran into allot of them. All in cages! We met at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway at 10 AM. At least that was supposed to be the time. I was a bit late leaving the house which is not like me. I turned into the parking lot at 10:05 AM. I really hate being late but it was only 5 minutes. We jacked our jaws for a few minutes as I told the other rider about my endeavor at Hinshaw's Honda the prior day. Here is how it went... I went in and rode a 2007 silver Goldwing. As anyone would, I fell in love. I figured trade in the ST1300 and take the big plunge. I really didn't want a payment over $225 and as luck would have it, the payment came out to $275. Decision made, I was out of there and will try and talk myself out of it over the next few weeks. Man that wing was smooth! I was amazed how easy it was to handle. When you look at them you think that's a big bike. It handles and accelerates like it weighs allot less. Ok, end of story, time to ride. Well not just yet. This is an update as of 7-16-2007. The Wing has a sold sign on it and I will finalize the papper work 7-17-2007. So much for talking myself out of it! Now it's time to ride. We headed out Spanaway Loop road to avoid hwy 7 traffic. We made out way out to the Roy Y where we headed south east (left at the Y). It was one group of caged riders after another. We had cagers all the way to Elbe. We barely got to play in the twisties prior to Elbe. It was brutal! Outside of the countless cagers clogging up the roads like bacon grease and hair in a drain, we did get to take in some great scenery. All the way to the park we had cagers! Cagers, cagers cagers! This is when it hit me, I usually take a day off during the week and that's why I usually have open roads all the way up. At the park pay window I handed the nice lady a $20 and was handed my change and a receipt. My change was only $5! This was WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT Rainier National Forest Washington by a "you've got to be kidding"! With a smile of course.  She immediately noticed she had over charged me and handed me another $10 and a new receipt. For a moment I thought wow, they really want to get back some of that money they put in to the road repair after the floods. No harm no fool and we were off in to the forest.  The first and probably most significant change was the camp ground that used to be on the right not to far after the park entrance. Gone! I mean the entire camp ground is gone. Not one little piece of ground is left. The river is now butted up against the road. I have spent allot of time in that camp ground. When I was a kid I used to go down by the river and throw rocks into the river. I watched my kids do it! It's all gone. Something that has been there my entire life was quickly erased by the force of nature. Further up the road on the left was a near dry river bed about 70 feet in width, with only a slow moving stream running down the center. As we road on just past that area we came across a new fast flowing river section dumping into a new culvert that allowed it passage under the road. This is new and this is where all the water from the old section diverted to during the floods. As we made our way up to Paradise we saw sign after sign that the river had carved it's new paths into the area. We had great weather for this ride. Early on it was suppose to be raining but by Thursday things were looking better. Not one drop of rain fell. We had partly sunny sky's all the way. As we were riding through the turns, we were startled by a large Fox that ran out and backed out of an attempt to cross the road. WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT Rainier National Forest Washington ST1300It decided to wait until we passed. And this type of wisdom is probably why he has lived to grow so large in size. :-) As we rounded the last turn to Paradise it dawned on me that we didn't see one deer on this trip. I usually see deer along the way when making this ride. I wondered if it had to due with the amount of traffic in the park. Cagers! The view at Paradise is not what it used to be. The parking lot is now mostly occupied by construction machinery and fences. They are building a new lodge up there and I know it's been a couple seasons now that it's been a mess. I'm sure once it's completed it will be great. Don't get me wrong, it's still worth the trip as the scenery up there is spectacular. I'm just used to rounding the bend and seeing parking lot and un obstructed hillside leading up to the mountain. Guess I'll have to hang in their and wait. After a short break, we headed passed  on to the Stevens Canyon road. I really enjoyed this part of the ride as we rode along wide open cliffs on one side and rock walls on the other. It wasn't long and we came upon a series of small lakes called Reflection Lakes. There was a bit of wind up there stirring up a slight ripple on the surface of the water. If you come by early in the morning these little lakes reflect what's in the background and are nothing short of stunning!  The ride down Stevens Canyon was full of twisties and a few hair pin turns. Be very careful as these roads have flaws or should I say hazards such as fallen rock, dips, bumps and in some areas sections of the shoulder are crumbling, under mined by water run off. Stevens Canyon road took us down to south bound hwy 123 heading towards hwy 12 junction. This is a short ride and soon we turned on to hwy 12. We rode hwy 12 for a while and soon we came upon the town of Packwood. It was here we thought we would stop and grab a bite to eat. We parked on the right side and went in to the Blue Spruce Tavern thinking, hey,  maybe we will get some good tavern food. We sat down but no one seemed to want to take our order and we got up and left. Instead, we just walked across the street and went into the White Pass Sports Hut. They had everything from burgers, sandwiches to Pizza. Don't site down and wait for service because you have to order at the counter. I know this because I sat down and then read the sign. I had the best Club House sandwich I have ever had! This will be one of my future stops. After a filling lunch and good conversation we got ourselves back on the road, destination Morton. We made our way through Randle. It was hear we encountered a convoy of motor homes, trucks with campers and trucks pulling 5th wheel trailers! It was then I was thinking, I hope this isn't a Karma thing. I try to do right by people. Maybe I passed too many cagers thinking bad thoughts and this is my payback! Another 13 miles of this and on to Morton where we stopped to re-fuel. Morton is another small town with one of the few small wood mills still in operation. Don't blink because you may miss something. The town is very small. Once through Morton we made our way back to Elbe. From our vantage points along this section of road, MT. Rainier was now tucked away behind a white cap of clouds. Our timing on this ride couldn't have been better.  Once through Elbe my riding partner made his turn off to head back to Bellevue and I navigated the chain of twisties just past Elbe alone. We not totally alone. I had countless Sunday Cager's to keep me company all the way back to Tacoma. Did I mention we got stuck behind countless caged riders? This is a good time for me to mention once again that you would do better to ride this route during the week!

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