Trot outdoors on turkey day

TACOMA — There are a number of outdoors-related options if you are looking for something different to do this Thanksgiving holiday.

If you want to skip the tryptophan-induced visit to slumberland, take the family and relatives to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. If you want to make an overnight trip, consider the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park.

If you want to get your day started with a run, there are four taking place Thursday morning in South Puget Sound.

If you don’t want to do the cooking Thursday, three lodges within the parks will be serving Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are some events taking place this week, as well as some suggestions for getting out of the house:

Christmas tree hunting

Wesern Washington’s national forests, including Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, Gifford Pinchot and Olympic — are selling permits to people wanting to cut their own Christmas trees.

Recent snows might make accessing trees at higher elevations more difficult, but there should be snow-free roads at lower elevations. Be sure to check each forest’s website for current road conditions.

You can get details on obtaining permits by reading the News Tribunes previous story at


Venture inside Mount Rainier’s Nisqually entrance and enjoy a Thanksgiving buffet at the National Park Inn at Longmire. The inn’s traditional buffet will be available Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. The cost is $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 10 and younger. Reservations are required, so contact the inn at: 360-569-2411.

The Lake Crescent Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park also will serve meals on Thanksgiving.

The Lake Crescent buffet will be served 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $29 for adults, $25 for seniors, $12 children ages 4-12 and for children 3 and younger. To make reservations, call 360-928-3211.

At Kalaloch Lodge, the kitchen staff will serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the Creekside Restaurant from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. To make reservations, call 360-962-2271, Ext. 4007.

Mount Rainier

The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The visitor center will also be open on Thanksgiving and Friday, as well as Dec. 21-Jan. 1.

While there is not enough snow to open the snowplay area, there should be enough to try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or hiking up and skiing or snowboarding down.

During weekdays, rangers will be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Longmire Visitor Information Center, inside the historic Longmire Administration Building.

Olympic Peninsula

The Quinault Lodge will host a rainforest tour each day at 9:30 a.m. The guided trip takes participants through the Quinault Rain Forest, including a number of photo stops. The cost is $30 for adults, $15 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 years old and younger. To learn more about the three-hour tour, go to

Also on Thanksgiving, the lodge is hosting pumpkin bocce ball at 3 p.m. using its leftover Halloween pumpkins.

Salmon viewing

This time of year, area rivers and streams are full of chum salmon making their way upstream to spawn. Watching these large fish, some topping 20 pounds, makes for a great way to spend part of a day and includes an educational bonus for youngsters.

Among the best options are Minter Creek on the Key Peninsula and Kennedy and McLane creeks outside Olympia. There are numerous streams on the Kitsap Peninsula, including Big and Little Mission creeks near Belfair, Salmon Berry Creek near Port Orchard, Seabeck Creek near Seabeck, Twanoh Creek at the south end of Hood Canal and Clear Creek near Silverdale.


Information from: The News Tribune,

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