Famous for its old-growth forest featuring thousand-year-old trees, the Grove of the Patriarchs is a must see for anyone visiting the Ohanapecosh area, located in the Southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. It’s a very easy hike, but definitely a memorable one that will feel you with enchantment.
The trail wanders alongside the Ohanapecosh River for a half mile before reaching its island destination – a small loop treating you to views of trees reaching 300 feet in height (not far from the world’s largest tree, a Coast Redwood in California reaching 379 feet). The Grove of Patriarchs features some of the largest trees in the National Park, with the largest examples reaching 40-50 feet in diameter.
About the Grove of the Patriarchs Hike
Hike: Grove of the Patriarchs
Distance: 1.3 Miles Round-Trip
Elevation Gain: Approx. 100 feet
Time: About 45 Minutes
Season: Mid-June to October
The trail starts off a quarter mile up the road from the Stevens Canyon entrance along Highway 123. The parking lot in this area has minimal parking during the summer, so you’ll need to get there early or park nearby and walk down the road. Just off the right side of the road by the restrooms, the trail heads North following the river. This portion of the Grove of the Patriarchs trail eventually leads to Deer Creek Camp and Tipsoo Lake. Flanked on either side by large red cedars, the trail heads straight for a third of a mile before you’ll be taking a right at a T-intersection.
Upon turning right, you’ll quickly cross the river on a suspension bridge (pictured above). The bridge leads over the Ohanapecosh River and onto the island where the Grove of the Patriarchs is located. A little further down the path and it will split into two – you can take either direction since it’s a loop. As you walk along the loop you’ll be surrounded by Douglas firs, Western hemlocks, Western red cedars and more. Take your time on the island, enjoy the ancient giants around you, and be sure to read the many signs along the trail to learn more about the Grove.
Starting Point: 46.758056, -121.5575
Trailhead: N 46° 45′ 29, W 121° 33′ 27
Grove: N 46° 45′ 45, W 121° 33′ 11
Though fairly short in distance, the amazing sites at the Grove make it a highly recommended stop for all visitors, especially if you’re entering the park from the East before heading towards Paradise or Longmire. If you have just one afternoon to spend in the National Park, we’d highly recommend pairing this hike with the Bench Lake to Snow Lake Hike, a stop at the Jackson Visitor Center, and possibly a stop at Rampart Ridge near Longmire if you’re looking to add some extra mileage. Also, be sure not to forget your camera!