As we headed south from Seattle toward Portland, we realized that Mt. Rainier wasn’t far off of our route. Since we needed a stop somewhere to break up the drive anyway, we decided to make Mt. Rainier that stop.
We found a campground online called Mineral Lake Resort, and from the website it looked like a great place. And that just proves how easy it is to misrepresent yourself on the internet. It wasn’t terrible, and perhaps during peak season it’s better. We think it may have officially been closed for the season. Someone just happened to be there when we pulled in and told us it was okay to camp for the night. He was on his way out, but he’d be back in the morning to take care of payment, etc. He also mentioned that they were working on their plumbing system so there was no water and the bathrooms were locked. Hmm. We had filled our water jug before we left Seattle, and there was a portable toilet. It was just one night, it was getting late and we didn’t know where else to go. So we stayed. There were some other RVs that seemed to be permanently parked there, but I’m pretty sure we were the only people there that night. It was strange.
In the morning, when Bill didn’t come back when he said he would, we decided to head into the park and come back in the afternoon to pay for the site and pick up the camper. As we entered the park, we were struck by the lush forest at the base of the mountain. It was green in a way that I’ve rarely seen before. It’s difficult to describe, but it was beautiful. And chilly. As we drove deeper into the park and ascended the mountain, the temperature continued to drop and I started to wonder if we’d brought the right clothes for a hike in the damp, cool, cloudy weather.
Little of the mountain was visible behind the clouds, except for a few brief moments when the clouds parted a little and we caught a glimpse of the mighty mountain. We took a short hike to a waterfall on a trail that was paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible. At the waterfall, we sat by a bridge and ate our packed picnic lunches. Then it was time to head back to the car and back to get our trailer.
By this time, Bill was back. We paid for our campsite, hooked up the trailer, and headed south to Portland.
Interesting church in the village of Elbe. One of the smallest in America. According to the sign, it is the seat of the area bishop, who holds monthly services there from March through November. Out of respect for tradition, he arrives there by bicycle.
Campground Review: Mineral Lake Resort
Price: $20, cash only
Location: just outside the town of Elbe, about 20-30 minutes from the entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. On the shores of Mineral Lake.
Site description: gravel parking lot
Facilities: We never saw the bathhouse, so it’s hard to say what they have in-season. For us, electricity and a porta-potty were it. And the porta-potty was a bit unsteady and needing to be emptied. There is a dock for fishing on the lake, but it was badly in need of repair.
Neighborhood: No neighbors at all. Quiet, but a little disconcerting.
Comments: In my opinion, if you call yourself a “resort” you should have a little more than a gravel parking lot to offer. Maybe even running water. It worked fine and I’m not complaining, I just found it humorous that this of all places calls itself a resort.
Posted in Campground Reviews, National Parks, USA Roadtrip 2012 and tagged campground, elbe, mineral lake, Mt. Rainier, national park, road trip, Washington by Christine with no comments yet.