Road Trip to Elbe, Washington
WHERE: Elbe, Washington, 15 miles west of the Paradise entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. WHY: To take a ride on the historic Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad ($24–$29; 54124 Mountain Hwy. E; 888.783.2611; mrsr.com), the longest continuously operating steam train railroad in the Pacific Northwest. WHAT: Riders travel in open-air, enclosed cars (pulled by a traditional steam engine) through the lushly forested foothills of our best beloved volcano on a 40-minute trip over classic wooden trestles to the town of Mineral, WA. Once there, riders have about 45 minutes to indulge their love of lumberjacks by visiting the new logging heritage museum and, on certain days, partaking in a barbecue dinner (see website). BEFORE YOU BOARD: The train depot sits in the little town of Elbe, which features Scaleburgers, a tiny (and popular) log-cabin burger shack, and an also tiny (and charming) white steeple church built by German immigrants in 1906 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. GETTING THERE: From Seattle, take I-5 south to Highway 512 toward Puyallup, then take Highway 7 until you hear the whistle blow in Elbe.