Just 30 minutes north of Morton on the way to Mt. Rainier National Park is the small community of Mineral. The quiet unincorporated community is situated on the border of north central Lewis County. Originally, Mineral began as a town of gold seekers. Instead of gold they found coal and arsenic, which eventually gave way to more stable timber and railroad industry. Today, Mineral is known primarily for camping, fishing, an artist in residence program and the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum. The prominent and picturesque 100+ year old Historic Mineral Lodge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and continues to operate as a lodging and event venue. Nearby fishing docks and boat rentals encourages water recreation on the 277-acre lake which boasts excellent trout fishing. Most shore fishing is from public fishing docks at the west end of the lake and docks at the Mineral Lake Resort. The lake sits at 1,770 feet elevation, and on clear days Mt. Rainier provides a “picture postcard perfect” scenic backdrop.
In 1909 the town of Onalaska was built around the lumber mill site established by the Carlisle family. The smokestack which still stands near Carlisle Lake is the last trace of one of the most successful mid-sized sawmills in Washington State. The mill employed a sizeable number of Japanese and Japanese Americans. Recently restored and upgraded, the area around Carlisle Lake is a popular attraction for leisure activity, including one of the most popular fishing destinations in Lewis County. Today the town is unincorporated, with active community members who volunteer each year for the annual Apple Harvest Festival and other events in the town. Outdoor recreation, fishing, birding, nature walks and star gazing are among the favorite recreational opportunities in Onalaska
Toledo, just 10 miles south of the White Pass Scenic Byway, is the gateway to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Located on the Cowlitz River, Toledo was the home of the pioneer side-wheel paddle steamer, Toledo in the late 1800’s. Due to the proximity to the Cowlitz River this location served as an important landing site and became the first settlement in Lewis County by pioneer Simon Plamonden. Plamonden and many other pioneer’s graves can be found in the local St. Frances Xavier Mission cemetery along with other noted founders of Lewis County. Today, the small incorporated city is known for outdoor recreation, fishing and close access to the Lewis and Clark State Park. Active community members host the Annual Toledo Cheese Days, and Cowlitz Prairie Grange Threshing event as well as the Bluegrass Festival. The Morgan Arts Centre is recognized for the visual and performing arts for youth.
Ashford is situated near the year round Nisqually Entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. Vacation rental properties and services provide park visitors with throughout the year with many options for those who come to the area for summer and winter recreation. Ashford is easily accessed via the Mountain Highway from Morton or by the Skate Creek Road from Packwood during the summer. This drive makes a great loop trip through some of Lewis County’s scenic foothills in the Cascade Mountain Range. Noted for as the base camp for those scheduled to climb Mt. Rainier, outfitters and guides share their knowledge and support for hiking, climbing and nature lovers. The Nisqually River passes through Ashford and is home to local resident elk populations. Stop in and learn the history of the area from local artists and shop keepers.