Stevens Canyon Road, Mount Rainier

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As you’re headed east from Paradise, you’ve got a lot of downhill driving to do.  Along the way, you’ll be passing through a beautiful canyon, on a shelf road that runs along one side of Stevens Canyon.

Even though it’s a “shelf”, most of the route is tree-lined.  The fantastic views are limited to the upper end of the canyon, just after you pass the trailhead for Bench and Snow Lakes.  The road makes a couple of dramatic turns, passes some waterfalls and slips through a tunnel.  You can get a good view from a few turnouts in this area, but for some reason, during both my visits to Mount Rainier, I never stopped to take a picture of Stevens Canyon.  I guess I was always on my way to somewhere else — attractions like Box Canyon and Grove of the Patriarchs are found along Stevens Canyon Road.

While I can’t show you any still photos, you can see the entire drive from Paradise, through Stevens Canyon to the park exit, in this Drivelapse video.

Stevens Canyon Road closes during the winter months. During my second visit to Rainier, in September 2011, Stevens Canyon Road had closed early, to allow for road work to be completed. Skate Creek Road provides an alternative route for access to Packwood and US 12 — though it is less scenic and more time-consuming.

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