National Parks are free this weekend, so that seems like a great opportunity to get out and ride! Rainier today, Hurricane Ridge tomorrow.
The route to Sunrise is not open yet since it’s still technically winter on the mountain, so we’re going to Paradise via the southwest side. You can always check road conditions at the Rainier National Park website.
About this route
First the bad news. Seattle to Eatonville is kind of a drag. You have to slab it on I-5 to Tacoma and Lakewood or 167 into Auburn and Puyallup. Once you’re to Puyallup, you’ve got about 15 miles of straight as an arrow roadway with stoplights every mile. We’re talking strip malls on both sides of the road. All the Jimmy Johns, Wendy’s and TJ Maxx you can handle.
Next you’ll come through Eatonville which is a cute little town. I suggest you use this as your last chance to gas up (if you need to) because the next chance to fill up is in Elbe at Elbe Supply. You’ll be charged an extra dollar per gallon plus 60 cents if you pay with plastic. I think you know why I know that.
Le Grande to Elbe is pretty great little road with Lake Alder to the south. A little taste of twisties here before you straighten out again and head to the park entrance. I prefer this route to/from Eatonville instead of Alder Cutoff Road, which is a little more direct.
The road to Paradise is truly, just that. Paradise. The twisties and switchbacks make for a very fun day.
The only problem of course, is that Mt. Rainier is a major tourist attraction. So, your best bet for riding at speed is during the week. Weekends are bumper to bumper for the most part.
Bumper to bumper traffic just gives you an opportunity to find a turnout and take a photo or two until you can find a nice break between cars.