Paradise actually can be found at Mt Rainier National Park! The southern end of Mt Rainier is a popular place to be during the summer season and as autumn approaches, the jagged mountain peaks are draped with clouds nearly everyday, which adds a mystical effect. The ancient rainforests are lush with green life and moss drapes the entire landscape. There are many hidden pocket valleys in this majestic volcanic terrain and there is one such place on the side of this tall mountain that can only described as being pure paradise. One visit is all it will take to agree with the name of this picturesque destination!
Upon arrival at Paradise, the first stop should be the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. This orientation center provides natural history information and detailed maps of Paradise, which include the many hiking trailhead locations. The visitor center is also a good place to adjust to the mile high elevation before getting the day started. Bear Safe rules and wildlife observation distances are explained here, which are good to know in this deep ancient rainforest environment.
After a short time, a natural yearning will occur to explore this majestic place just to find out why it is called Paradise. This feeling becomes stronger when getting away from the parking lot and taking the first few steps on the green grass. It is then that the illusion of time seems to vanish and a whole new world appears before the eyes. Paradise is a vast high elevation lush green mountain meadow with blooming wildflowers, strands of tall trees, a trickling creek and there are even a few picturesque waterfalls. This is a very peaceful place where the gentle sounds of water and meadow songbirds creates an ideal dreamscape in full living color. The view of a vast flower filled meadow surrounded by jagged volcanic mountain peaks does impart. a feeling of being in a mysterious island paradise in some distant exotic place. All that a first time visitor can do is stand and stare in awe, while saying this sure is pure paradise!
There is plenty to see and do at Paradise, so be sure to set some extra time aside for exploring this beautiful place. The wildlife practically poses for the camera, because the animals are used to seeing visitors everyday. The peaceful sounds of this lush mountain meadow may be the best part of the experience on a cloudy autumn day, because the mountain peaks will be partially hidden from view. When the clouds drape Mt Rainier, Paradise takes on a captivating mystical effect. For these reasons, spending just one day in Paradise will likely not be enough!
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