Heading to Mt Rainier National Park? If you’re planning to stay near the Nisqually entrance, one of the Mt Rainier entrances, you’ll likely be staying in or near the town of Ashford, WA. The Nisqually entrance is open year-round and just minutes away from Ashford. Whether you’re looking for some fun things to do outside the park, places to eat, or cabins near Mt Rainier this post has you covered. Here are some things to do in Ashford, Washington near Mt Rainier National Park.
I partnered with Travel Tacoma, who hosted me on this trip. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click my link, I make a small percentage (at no extra cost to you). This helps me keep the travel blog running.
Things to do in Ashford, Washington
From activities, roadside stops, a lake, and more. Here are some of the best things to do in Ashford, WA.
Cannibal Hot Springs at Paradise Village Lodge
The Cannibal Hot Tub is a hot tub made out of a huge kettle imported from Ukraine. It’s heated by wood fire and can get pretty hot but there are large rocks you can sit on and put your feet on to keep you off the heat below. There is also a fresh spring water spigot that can help you control the temperature.
It’s reservation only, you can book online and you don’t have to be a guest to make a reservation to soak. Just bring your swimsuit, a towel, and some flip flops. This is one of the best things to do in Ashford, WA.
Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park
Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park is a “found art” museum featuring unique sculptures by artists Dan Klennert and Jay Bechtold. The sculptures are made from materials that are being discarded or have been abandoned.
The sculpture park is open all year and the entrance is by donation. If you’re into quirky roadside stops this one is a must if you’re heading to Mount Rainier National Park.
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Love animals and looking for some cool things to do near Mt Rainier? Check out Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, about 30 mins from Ashford in the town of Eatonville. It’s about an hour from the Mt Rainier entrance.
This wildlife park features over 40 species of native Northwest animals. You can see bison, elk, caribou, moose, big-horn sheep, and more. Tickets can be purchased at the front gate but you’ll save a few dollars per ticket if you book online.
You can opt to visit the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area with the Keeper Adventure Tour. You’ll ride with a keeper in an outfitted Jeep and get up close to elk, bison, and more! Tickets for the Wild Drive and Keeper Tour are separate experiences and require online timed tickets and reservations. Both experiences include park admission.
Alder Lake is a 7-mile long reservoir on the Nisqually River. The water is an amazing turquoise blue color because of its run-off from the Nisqually glacier. It’s great for day-use activities such as boating, fishing, or just to enjoy a nature walk. And if you care to stay longer you can camp.
Mt Rainier National Park
If you’re staying in Ashford you’re more than likely visiting Mout Rainier National Park. There is so much to do inside the park and you’re minutes from the Nisqually entrance. This is one of the four Mt Rainier entrances and it’s open all year.
Ashford, WA Restaurants
Looking for Ashford restaurants? There are a few options in the town. Some are open seasonally, while others are open all year so it’s important to double check the opening hours.
The Trailhead Bar and Grill
The Trailhead Bar and Grill serves up burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and more. They also have beer, wine, and tasty cocktails.
Rainier BaseCamp Bar and Grill
Rainier BaseCamp Bar and Grill serves pizza, burgers, salads, and more. They also serve beer on tap, in the can, and growlers. And if you don’t love beer they also have wine!
open: May 15 – September 30
Ukrainian Cuisine Restaurant at Paradise Village Lodge
The restaurant at Paradise Village Lodge serves Ukrainian food items as well as Polish and some Russian menu items. And if you have a sweet tooth they also bake lots of pastries.
Copper Creek Restaurant
Copper Creek Restaurant has an eclectic menu. And if the weather is right you can take your meal to-go and enjoy it picnic-style by their creek.
Whittakers Bunkhouse Cafe
Whittakers Bunkhouse Cafe is located at Whittakers Bunkhouse. It serves breakfast and coffee all day.
Wild Berry Restaurant
Wild Berry Restaurant serves Himalayan dishes and is a great stop for homemade berry pie.
open May – mid-October
Things to Know
Here are some helpful things to know when visiting Ashford, Washington.
Nearby Grocery Stores/General Stores
If you’re looking for a grocery store, want to stock up on water, batteries, or anything you may have forgotten for your trip head to one of these stores:
- Ashford Valley Grocery – grocery store & gas station
- Suver’s General Store
for more of a variety and large grocery stores stop on Elbe.
Mt Rainier Webcam
Check the Mount Rainier webcams before heading into the park to help you with weather-related questions. You can also call the ranger station but I like to also check out the cameras. This also helps how crowded the park might be.
Ashford, WA Cabins and Lodging
Looking for cabins near Mt Rainier? There are great options for lodging in Ashford. Here are a few options for your visit to Ashford, Washington.
Paradise Village Lodge
Paradise Village Lodge features individual cabins, a restaurant, and the Cannibal Hot Tub. It’s a perfect stay for families, couples, or small friend groups.
Book Paradise Village on Booking.com | Paradise Village on Hotels.com
Whittaker’s Bunkhouse is a popular lodging option, especially amongst hikers, climbers, and skiers. Most rooms are private but there is also the Bunk Room with hostel-like accommodations.
Book Whittaker’s Bunkhouse on Hotels.com
Wellspring Spa and Woodland Retreat
Wellspring Spa and Woodland Retreat features stunning wood cabins, and spa, and more.
Stormking Cabins & Spa
Stormking Cabins & Spa features wood yurt-like cabins, and spa, and more.
Ashford, Washington is the perfect place to stay during your visit to Mount Rainier National Park. While the town may be small there are some great things to do in Ashford, WA!
Follow more of my adventures on Instagram! Check out my Instagram Reels about the Cannibal Hot Tub, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and more!
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