The mountain village of Ashford is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains just a short six-mile drive to the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. It makes a perfect base camp to explore the park. Local small businesses provide a variety of services including lodging, restaurants, shops, and rental gear for mountain exploration in all seasons. It also has a surprisingly international vibe with businesses owned by Ukrainian and Nepalese immigrant families. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous outdoor experience Ashford can meet all your needs.
Where to Eat in Ashford
Ashford’s restaurants offer a variety of cuisines from international flavors to hearty mountain cooking. It’s a nice variety for such a small town.
Copper Creek Restaurant
The Copper Creek Restaurant
has been a fixture in Ashford since 1946. It is the longest continuously running restaurant in Washington. Step back in time when you walk in the door and smell the aroma of fresh baked bread and homemade blackberry pie. A popular local thing to do is go hiking in the park and stop for pie on the way home. Passionate about blackberries the restaurant also has homemade blackberry butter, jam, syrup, and vinaigrette which can also be purchased to take home.
is a special and unique place to eat. Did you every expect to meet a Nepalese Sherpa in Washington or that he would until recently hold Guiness Book of World Records for the fastest summit of Mount Everest. Impressively Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa has summited Mount Everest 15 times and Mount Rainier 45 times. The restaurant is a mini museum of his adventures while also serving up traditional Nepalese food lovingly prepared by his wife, Fulamu Sherpa.
Rainier Basecamp Bar and Grill
The food, the music (seasonal to summer), and the atmosphere compete for top billing at Rainier Basecamp. Elevated pub grub served up in a high-energy atmosphere that leans heavily on outdoor dining with fire pits in the summer and comfortable closed tents in the off-season.
Paradise Village Bakery
The Paradise Village Bakery is located at the Paradise Village Bakery
. Fun stop for authentic Ukrainian pastries and coffee before heading into the park. Darling family run place but be patient as they do everything for the hotel, restaurant, and bakery with a very small staff. You can also rent chains for your car which you need certain times of the year for entering the park.
Whittaker's Bunkhouse is known as the climber's place of choice for lodging, so it makes sense that the cafe attached is ready to serve up not just the espresso to fuel a trip up to Rainier (or up Rainier), but the breakfast fare to fuel it as well. Beyond the normal cafe menu, the waffles and Umpqua oatmeal are what'll power you through your day.
Where to Stay in Ashford
Ashford has an eclectic lodging inventory at a variety of price points. Most are historic and rustic. Please read the descriptions so you know what to expect, many negative reviews are because people expected a standard chain hotel room.
The Alexander’s Lodge
has hosted guests since 1902. Spend time on the website before booking because every room is unique. The architecture is quirky and odd sized but that is the charm. The grounds are lovely with a walking trail through the forest and a beautiful pond stocked with fish you can feed.
Wellspring, A Woodland Retreat And Spa
This is one of the more upscale lodgings in Ashford. Wellspring
is nestled in the woods and guests can choose from comfortable log cabins, private guestrooms, rustic camper cabins, and even a treehouse. The property is designed to be a relaxing retreat from the world. Explore the labyrinth which winds its way around Grandmother Maple. Hike the one-mile Meditation Trail that loops around the property to Glenn Creek with rushing waterfalls. Outdoor cedar hot tubs and wood-fired saunas just add to the Zen mode and Mount Rainier National Park is only five minutes away.
What To Do In Ashford
Ashford County Park
The beautiful Ashford County Park
was over 30 years in the making and is a popular community space. Families enjoy the children’s play area with nearby restrooms. There are two scenic walking trails, one ADA accessible, which wind through the park’s 80 acres of peaceful wetlands. The park’s amphitheater hosts outdoor summer concerts and car shows.
Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park
This really unusual art park, Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park
is also known as the Ex-Nihilo Sculpture Park from the Latin term meaning something created from nothing. Pull into the parking lot and immerse yourself in the awesomeness of this place. Words cannot adequately describe the creative genius which turned trash into treasured sculptures. Materials include rusty metal scrapes, gas pumps, driftwood, animal skulls and a variety of junk. From these humble parts Klennert created his masterpieces that each seem to have their own story. Feel free to wander around. Please leave a donation.
Events in Ashford
From Ashford, the best hiking trails are in Mount Rainier National Park
accessed at the Nisqually Entrance. The Twin Firs Trailhead
is about a 10–15-minute drive into the park. Look for the sign on your left. Just a short loop trail but hikers are rewarded with an impressive old growth forest. The Trail of the Shadows
is less than a mile loops around Longmire Meadow Springs and can be hiked year round. There are lots of options for day hiking at Mount Rainier National Park
for all ability levels.