Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!”Dr. Seuss
About the Park
Mount Rainier National Park has the imposing Mount Rainier, the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range, and is still a potentially dangerous volcano. Additionally, it is one of the oldest and most visited parks and dominates the scenery in a large portion of Western Washington State. It is still an active volcano and last erupted 150 years ago.
Check out the view of the mountain!
Live it up!
Best Things to do in the Park
- Go to the Paradise Visitor Center. There is so much to see and do. There will be short hiking trails, wildflowers, great views, and information about the park
- Take a photograph at Reflection Lake with the mountain in the background.
- Make the short hike to Myrtle Falls
- Eat brunch or dinner at the Paradise Inn
- Hike through the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, with the oldest and largest trees in the park
- Get a view from the opposite side as Paradise and visit the Sunrise Visitor Center
- Hike to Camp Muir, which is the starting point for the summit hikes. This was an amazing highlight.
- Go on one of the many Mount Rainier hikes to experience nature at its best
While this is the perfect picture, there’s more to the story! When we arrived, we realized we were there at the ideal time of day. The only problem was that the parking area was not the best angle for getting the total reflection of the mountain. So, Bev, being the ultimate problem solver, climbed on top of the truck and snapped the picture. While up there, she offered to take photos of the groups gathered, and they went home with the perfect shot, too!
Size of Park
369 square miles
Mount Rainier has 25 named glaciers, the most on any mountain in the continental US.
Mount Rainier is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists yearly. Located near Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park has an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. The glacier-capped peaks surrounding the wildflower meadows offer breathtaking views.
The Mount Rainier park has a variety of hiking trails. The national park is also home to Mount Rainier, which is not only an active volcano but is also the most glaciated peak in the region. The park’s ecosystem includes diverse wildlife, including elk, marmots, pikas, and deer.
The park is divided into five sections; Paradise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Carbon River/ Mowich Lake, and Sunrise. You will also find three visitor centers, five developed areas, a museum, several climbing centers, and two inns providing comfortable lodgings. Moreover, the park offers ample opportunity to explore nature in its truest form as tourists stroll in the old-growth forests and feel the spray of the waterfalls!
Best Mount Rainier Hikes
There are over 260 miles of maintained trails in Mount Rainier National Park that promise to deliver an unforgettable hiking experience!
Skyline Loop Trail
Located in the paradise section of the park, hiking on Skyline Loop Trail is challenging for beginners. Despite its difficulty, the trail is still considered the most popular in the national park as it is just 6 miles long. The path is tough and narrow, but you can see breathtaking waterfalls and green meadows.
Naches Peak Loop
This hike has an easy to moderate difficulty level and is 3.3 miles long. Many families also choose to hike this trail because of its short length. The halfway point at the trail during sunset can offer some mesmerizing views. You will also find plenty of wildflowers, lakes, and fantastic views of Rainier.
Most of the hikers recommend trekking on this trail in the clockwise direction. As you hike on this trail, you will pass meadow after meadow filled with greenery and colorful flowers.
Nisqually Vista Trail
Nisqually Vista Trail is another alternative for inexperienced hikers and families visiting the park. This is an easy hike that is just a mile long. You will again pass subalpine meadows and arrive at an overlook of Rainier and Nisqually Glacier. This place is also famous for its wildlife; you will often see deer and marmots wandering about.
The entire round trip is more than 10 miles long and is quite long. With an elevation of 2,900 ft, this is another popular trail among adventurous hikers. The trailhead to the hike is called the Frying Pan Creek Trailhead. The Summerland Meadows inspire the name of this trail that you will cross after hiking for 4.5 miles. In the right season, these meadows are covered with wildflowers!
If you want to know what a genuinely challenging hike feels like, the Wonderland Trail is it! With a cumulative elevation of more than 20,000 feet and a length of over 93 miles, this trail is not for the casual hiker. However, people who are serious about climbing/hiking and have camping on their bucket list go for this trail.
Through the Wonderland Trail, you trek around Mount Rainier in about a week or so and pass through countless glaciers and creeks. The journey can also be divided into small sections where you explore bits and pieces of the backcountry at your own pace. This is the ultimate of the Mount Rainier hikes.
Camping in the Park
Campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park offer an excellent opportunity to explore the raw natural beauty of this region. The park has four designated campgrounds. Three campgrounds (Cougar Rock Campground, Ohanapecosh Campground, and White River Campground) accept vehicles and RVs, while the fourth is a walk-in-only campground (Mowich Lake Campground).
Cougar Rock Campground
This campground is located in a forest near the Nisqually River. That means you will have access to fresh water and other activities, including fishing and swimming. Cougar Rock Campground has five group sites that can accommodate up to 40 people per site. Portable water, picnic tables, and toilets are available, while campfires are also allowed.
This campground offers a woodland atmosphere and is situated along the Ohanapecosh River. Most young campers and families go to this campground because of its location. This place has 188 campsites that also have flush toilets and running water.
White River Campground
If you are a backpacker and your priority during your visit is hiking, White River Campground can be an excellent base camp! There are 112 sites here, along with toilets and portable water. This campground also offers campers privacy and is located near the Wonderland Trail.
Camping options near the park
If you do not want to stay inside Mount Rainier National Park, you can still find plenty of camping options near the park. Some great camping options include Big Creek Campground, Bumping Lake Campground, and The Dalles Campground. These campgrounds accept RVs and trailers and also have RV hookups.
Mount Fremont Lookout
Mount Rainier has a lot of old lookouts that were built in the 1930s. Such structures were initially built to help rangers spot forest fires around Rainier. One of these lookouts is the Mount Fremont Lookout, accessed through Sourdough Ridge.
From Mount Fremont Lookout, you can take in the stunning views of Redstone Peak, Grand Park, Berkeley Park, and Skyscraper Mountain. For the best experience, bring binoculars with you to spot black bears and mountain goats in the park!
Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout
If you want a full view of Mount Rainier, you can hike to the old fire lookout. The hike up to Tolmie Peak passes through open lowland forest alongside Mowich Lake and gradually gains elevation. As you get closer to your final destination, the track turns into a steep hike. Once you reach the last viewpoint, you will realize that it offers a unique vantage point from where you can look at the mighty mountain with a sapphire blue lake just below it.
This small lake is located near the Chinook Pass in the eastern part of the park. The lake lies in the middle of green meadows, trees, and snow-capped peaks. While enjoying the landscape, onlookers can’t help but marvel at the pristine water in the Tipsoo Lake that reflects the Mount Rainier rising behind it!
If you want a short and scenic stroll, head to Yakima Park. Getting to this place is not as difficult as the other popular viewpoints, and you will probably get to witness one of the best sunrises of your life!
Myrtle Falls is located on Edith Creek and is the most popular and photogenic spot in Mount Rainier National Park. This is a 72-foot tall fall that dramatically drops into a deep ravine. Myrtle Falls’s view is even more captivating by the mountainous backdrop and colorful meadow surrounding the creek. You can get to this point through the Skyline Trail or the paved trail from Paradise Inn.
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