Directions to "The Road to Paradise"
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From Portland, take I-5 north to Highway 12 east, to Morton. At Morton turn left (north) on Highway 7, for about 20 miles to the junction with Highway 706. Turn Right (west) and follow this road right into the park. Start your Car Tours program as you leave the Nisqually Entrance Station.
From Seattle and Tacoma, take I-5 south exit 127, State Route 512 east for just a short way to State Highway 7 south. This turns into SR 706 and you're on your way to the Nisqually entrance to the Queen of the Cascades. Start your Car Tours program as you leave the Nisqually Entrance Station.
As you drive along Highway 7, remember that you are traveling on top of material that was once atop the mountain. This route crosses over the Osheola Mudflow, which was the result of a volcanic eruption on Mt. Rainier nearly 6000 years ago. The land is rich in nutrients and is some of the best agricultural land left unpaved in this region. The large mounds you see are mostly hummocks, huge chunks of the mountain that came down with the mudflow. This land was gray and barren for years after the eruption. The surrounding communities are expanding rapidly theses days and as underground sewers and other pipe is laid, workers are finding a complete forest under the surface, this is the forest that was here on the valley slopes at the time of the enormous mud flow.