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Packwood, Washington

Packwood is a mountain logging community in Washington State at an elevation of 1,290 feet on Highway 12 in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The community is nine miles from Mt. Rainier National Park, 30 miles from Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and 20 miles from White Pass Ski Area.

Packwood Washington

This unincorporated community bears the name of a William Packwood, one of the first white men to come through here. He was searching for a shorter route from Olympia to Yakima, but Packwood never did discover White Pass. He filed a coal mining claim here in 1861 and passed on through, returning from time to time. By the 1880's when squatters came up the river from Mossyrock and Randle to settle the area, it was widely known as Packwood. The name stuck.

Although Packwood is a small community, there is an airport for small craft (55S). You just might see wild elk roaming through and eating the dandelions off the lawns as the area is still heavily wooded with pine trees and feels quite rustic and remote. Snow capped Mt. Rainier looms close overhead.

The Northwest Region Sports Car Club of America (NWR SCCA) holds autocross events at Hampton Mills in Packwood WA. These events happen several times a year in spring, summer and fall. Autocross (AutoX) is timed precision driving -- a way to race against the clock without the danger of hitting other vehicles. Anyone at an event can try it so long as they have a driver license and a technically sound car. Registration is about $30. Best times are rewarded with bragging rights and small trophies.

Packwood WA also attracts many tourists each summer for hiking, road biking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, boating, horseback riding, camping and fishing. Packwood Lake and High Rock Lookout are two local hiking destinations. Packwood is also on the Pacific Crest Trail system and borders Goat Rocks Wilderness. Mt. Rainier National Park, Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and Mt. Adams are all close by.

It's an easy 2 to 3 hour drive to Packwood from Portland or Seattle. Take I-5 to Highway 12 exit 68. Take highway 12 east 64 miles to Packwood. Snow chains are often required from November through May.

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