New map offers loops connecting Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens

Staff reportJuly 7, 2013 

A visit to the region’s two best- known mountains will be a little easier with a new map and visitor guide produced by a tourism organization.

Visit Rainier is offering a “Two Mountain Vacation” to assist travelers who want to visit both Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.

The map is a collaborative effort between Visit Rainier and Cowlitz County Tourism. It offers a general map of the region, including the location of information centers, public restrooms and photo opportunities.

The guide also provides information on three loops:

Grand Tour: This 302-mile tour takes visitors through the national park and national volcanic monument. The guide recommends taking four days and three nights to complete the trip.

Visitor center tour: This is a 200-mile loop that will take visitors to six visitor centers. It is a recommended two-day, one-night adventure.

Nature’s wild side: This is a 216-mile trip that provides an opportunity to see the region’s wildlife and plant life. It, too, is a two-day, one-night trip.

Visit Rainier also has developed four different loop trips that can be made around Mount Rainier. The guide includes points of interest, top attractions, drive times and seasonal suggestions.

The release of the map coincides with the summer openings of key roads leading to both locations.

The U.S. Forest Service opened Forest Road 99 that leads to Windy Ridge on the east side of Mount St. Helens.

That road’s opening also coincided with the opening of the roads to Sunrise and Mowich Lake in the Mount Rainier National Park. As of this weekend, all of the roads in and around the two peaks are open.

“Having all the roads around Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens open is exciting for folks who would like to visit both mountains,” Mary Kay Nelson, executive director of Visit Rainier, said in a statement. “Travelers rarely care about the boundaries of a national park versus the Forest Service versus a state park. They are interested in visiting a region. This map will help ensure they have all the information they will need to make the most of their time in our area.”

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