Nearby Cities and Towns
The Nisqually Valley, located in western Washington, is filled with things to see and do every day of the year!
Fed by the Nisqually glacier on the southern side of Mt. Rainier, the Nisqually River is 81 miles long, and forms an integral part of the valley.
On the western most point of the valley, you'll find the Alder Dam and Alder Lake Park. The Alder Dam is an impressive 300 feet high and the length of four-and-a-half football fields! The dam is a source of hydropower, and has two massive generators that produce enough electricity to serve 16 thousand Northwest homes each year. Alder Lake Park boasts year-round camping and more than 150 individual campsites.
The nearby town of Elbe was one of the first settlements along the Nisqually River. The town is rich with German heritage, including the 100-year-old Historic Elbe Church, which is on the national register of historic places. Elbe is small, but there are restaurants, espresso stands and activities to keep you busy during a long weekend.
The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad begins its journey in Elbe and is a unique way to explore Mt. Rainier National Park. It offers visitors a chance to journey back in time as they travel through the beauty of the valley.
If horseback is your transportation method of choice, there are multiple riding companies offering adventures for riders of all ages. If you'd rather ride on four wheels, the Elbe hills O-R-V area will get any off-road enthusiast's adrenaline pumping.
For a more relaxing afternoon, head to Mineral Lake. The lake is just under half a square mile big, and ten-pound trout are in abundance under the crystal clear water. Spend the day with your reel in the water and leave your worries on land.
In the town of Ashford, local artists and sculptors showcase their works at various galleries. There is even an entire park of life size iron sculptures by the artist Dan Klennert, which includes a dinosaur and a horse made almost entirely of horseshoes!
If you're headed into Mt. Rainier National Park, You can get outfitted for your mountain adventure and learn the ins and outs of the park from locals at Whittaker Mountaineering's Rainier Base Camp.
The Nisqually Valley makes a great vacation spot, or day trip, for every season and every age group!
Stop by the Visitors Association for more information on your perfect getaway.
Mt. Rainier National Park. GPS Address to Nisqually Entrance: 39000 State Route 706 E, Mail: 55210 238th Avenue E, Ashford, WA 98304. Phone: 360-569-2211; TDD: 360-569-2177.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Frommer's Washington State. by Karl Samson. In this detailed and completely up-to-date guide, you'll find great places to stay in every price range: sleek Seattle business hotels, romantic coastal inns, historic B&Bs, family-friendly motels, rustic cabins, and more. Order now...
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Moon Washington, 9th Edition. by Ericka Chickowski. From urban cities to rural towns, this native gives an insider's perspective on everything the Evergreen State has to offer featuring great places to eat, scenic drives and volunteer vacations. Discover Seattle's arts and culture, climbing Mt. Rainier, sleeping in a train car near Elbe and much more. Order now...
Great Places: Washington: A Recreational Guide to Washington's Public Lands and Historic Places for Birding, Hiking, Photography, Fishing, Hunting and Camping by John Kruse. The geology, animal and plant life, and history of Washington's most-storied and scenic locales, including the best local lodging and amenities are explained in this full color guide. Order now...
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