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Mount Rainier National Park Grove of the Patriarchs Trail

Trail Description Distance, round-trip: 1.5 miles Elevation: 2200 feet Elevation gain: None Hiking time, round-trip: 1 hour The name tells the story: a virgin forest of ancient Douglas-firs, western hemlocks, and western red cedars, a place to become humble in the presence of living things that were already aged--by human measure--when the Normans conquered England. This is a short and easy walk along a nature trail that is snow-free June through October. Along the Trail The way goes upstream through beautiful forest 1/2 mile to a junction. The nature trail turns right, across a suspension bridge onto an island in the Ohanapecosh River. After passing through small trees, the path forks: go either way; it's a loop. Signs identify plants and describe features of the ecological community.

Isolated on the island and thus protected from fire, the trees have grown to gigantic proportions. In this small area are 20 western red cedars more than 25 feet in circumference; among them is the largest cedar in the Park. There are ten Douglas-firs over 25 feet in circumference; one is 35 feet. The trees are estimated to be nearly 1000 years old. Trailhead Location Drive to the Stevens Canyon Entrance and continue 1/4 mile on the Stevens Canyon Road to a large parking lot beyond the Ohanapecosh River Bridge. The trail starts behind the restrooms. Elevation: 2200 feet.