Friday, August 1, 2008

Paradise at 5430 feet

Paradise is the highest spot accessible by car on the south side of Mt. Rainier. Many climbing parties heading for the summit begin here. The Paradise Inn was built in the early 1900's and just celebrated it's reopening after refurbishing and a bit of remodeling. We stayed here for two nights in July 2003 and had a marvelous time - very different from camping!

The current visitor center at Paradise was built in 1965 - an innovative design that was typical of architecture from that time. I've always felt it looked like a flying saucer that had landed on the side of the mountain. The second floor provides a panoramic 360 degree view of all the surrounding mountains. This is the last summer for this visitor center as the new center will open next summer. This building isn't energy efficient - it takes 500-600 gallons of diesel fuel per day in the winter to keep the snow melted off the roof! The ramp to the second floor is too steep to be wheelchair accessible. The new building fits into the surroundings beautifully and is styled similarly to the Inn and other old buildings. It is somewhat smaller but the space is used much more efficiently. This building will be torn down to provide parking - always a problem at Paradise where more than 2,000,000 people visit the mountain annually.

1 comment:

Cascade Lily said...

Wow Patti - I hadn't heard of this particular Paradise before but it looks amazing. No wonder 2m people go there each year!