Exploring the Mountain Town of Packwood, Washington

Nestled beneath the base of Mount Rainier National Park and surrounded by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Packwood is the perfect destination for those looking to escape to the mountains and relax in a cozy, charming cabin. From summer wildflower hikes at Mount Rainier to hitting the winter slopes at White Pass Ski Area, this authentic small mountain town has plenty of year-round outdoor adventures to choose from.

packwood washington sign
silver falls

Where to Venture

Packwood is an outdoor playground for mountain enthusiasts. In the summer, the Ohanapecosh entrance to Mount Rainier National Park is only 15 minutes away. Our favorite hikes in this area are Box Canyon, Grove of the Patriarchs, and Silver Falls. If it’s your first time at the park, the popular Sunrise and Paradise areas are one hour away from Packwood in the summer and early fall months.

If you don’t want to battle crowds and prefer quieter trails, Packwood Lake and 4 miles of trails in Skate Creek Park welcome you nearby. If those mountain areas aren’t enough, Goat Rocks Wilderness, Tatoosh Wilderness, Mount St. Helens, or Mount Adams offer endless hiking and exploring within a short drive away.

In winter, Packwood is the base camp to hit the slopes or ski miles of nordic terrain in the White Pass Ski Area. This winter wonderland offers snowy landscapes and majestic views of Mount Rainier.

mt. rainier

Where to Hang Out in Town

After a day in the mountains, Packwood is filled with authentic small-town character. Recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Packwood is gaining nationwide attention as an under-the-radar spot for mountain adventures. But little do people know that tourism and recreation have always been part of Packwood’s identity.

packwood station
hotel packwood

To learn more about Packwood and the area’s fascinating history, start your trip with a visit to the White Pass Country Historical Museum in town. This museum offers educational programs, hands-on exhibits, and plenty of historical artifacts, photos, and documents detailing the history and culture of White Pass to Kosmos, Washington.

museum
coffee shop

The Mountain Goat coffee shop is another must-stop. Our local tip is to visit early in the morning and get a freshly baked breakfast scone. It’s heavenly fuel for your day trips or journey home.

Packwood Brewing Co. is the place to be for après-mountain brews. Right in the heart of town, its hip interior decor and outdoor beer garden serves up craft brews and live weekend tunes.

brewery
mercantile
ice cream

Packwood Mercantile is your new spot for cute souvenirs that celebrate the outdoors and mountains. Find Packwood-branded tees and nature-lover goodies like PNW oxford pennants, Rainier postcards, and wilderness-scented candles.

Ice Cream Airstream is a true summer treat in town. Be sure to find the Airstream slinging scoops of Olympia Mountain Ice Cream.

Aside from those recommendations, Packwood also features Nachos Mexican, Basecamp Coffee, White Pass Taqueria, Packwood Spirits & Quilts, and other small businesses to support.

Where to Stay

While there are a few local hotels and lodge options, you’ll want to find a cozy cabin to complement your mountain escape. Packwood has become a little cabin land to rent Instagram-worthy A-frames, modern mountain homes, or classic log-home stays. 

Photo Credit: @solephoto
Photo Credit: @solephoto
cabin lounge
Photo Credit: @solephoto

For A-frames, stay at “The Mountain House,” an A-frame chalet that celebrates mountain life with a rustic-chic PNW style, “Heartwood,” a modern new A-frame, or the “Little Owl Cabin” featured in the “Cabin Porn” book. Either way, there is a wide range of cabin rentals for every type of getaway, style, group size, and budget found on Airbnb or VRBO.

Photo Credit: @riparide
Photo Credit: @backcountrybohemians
white pass

When to Visit

While there is plenty to do all year round, each season offers unique experiences, unlike the others. Winter offers fantastic skiing and snow activities at White Pass Ski Area. Spring is quieter as the Chinook and Cayuse passes and some roads to visit Mount Rainier are still closed, but perfect for a nature escape at a cozy cabin. Summer is the busy season, with wildflowers at Mount Rainier paired with sunny weather. And fall is the right time to escape the crowds with full access to Mount Rainier.

wildflowers

During the Memorial Day and Labor Day long weekends, the largest flea market in the western US happens in Packwood over four days. Shop for bargain antiques and artisan gifts or just enjoy various fair food vendors. For more visit details visit packwoodfleamarket.com.

Start planning Packwood as your next vacation spot to world-class hiking trails at Mount Rainier National Park or crowd-free ski runs at White Pass Ski Area. It’s even a destination for non-outdoorsy people that come for unique cabin stays that match this one-of-a-kind mountain town.

Karen Wong

Karen is an east coast Canadian that moved to Seattle after falling in love with the PNW. With her husband in construction and her design background, she tackles various cabin projects and rents out their lakefront cabin by Olympic National Park and an A-frame chalet by Mount Rainier National Park. Website: staythehouses.com | Instagram: @staythehouses

3 Comments

  1. Mike Voie on August 17, 2022 at 11:36 am

    The chance of seeing elk (sometimes right in town) is very high. Packwood is truly “God’s country”. It is stunningly beautiful.

  2. Con on August 20, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    Do not forget to check out the Blue Spruce Saloon. It has been in business the longest of any of the restaurants/bars in town. It’s family owned and operated. Family friendly until 9 or 10. Has Great Food & friendly service.

  3. Laura M on August 24, 2022 at 6:07 am

    Went there a month ago and loved every minute of it! Stayed at the Packwood Inn, ate at the Mountsin Goat, went to Mt Rainier and Mt St Helen’s, saw live music (Bryson) and had great beer at Packwood Brewery! Perfect two days.

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