In the southeastern corner of the park, the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center offers a gentle counterpart to the big views of Paradise and Sunrise. You can head to the visitor center as you drive down from Paradise or access it from Packwood, just 12 miles south. Conveniently, the visitor center is adjacent to the popular Ohanapecosh Campground, a good stop for an overnight. Nestled in old-growth forest, the small visitor center offers families hands-on displays of animal life, tree identification, and local old-growth forest, as well as hiking information and guidebooks. No cafÃ© or snacks here. Walk the self-guided .4-mile Hot Springs Nature Trail through the forest to the site of the 1920’s hot springs resort, and ask about other kid-friendly hikes.
The visitor center typically opens July 1 through mid-September, depending on weather (check the nps.gov website for exact dates). The campground usually stays open into early October. Be aware, the visitor center is not marked on road signage; look for a campground sign and you’ll know you’re in the right place.