Mount Rainier National Park
The majestic Mount Rainier, the United States 4th-highest peak (14, 411 feet/4,392 meters) outside Alaska, is also one of its most beguiling. Encased in the 368-sqmi/953-sqkm Mount Rainier National Park, the mountain’s snow-capped summit and forest-covered foothills harbor numerous hiking trails, a wide range of sub-alpine flora and fauna, and an alluring conical peak that presents a formidable challenge for aspiring climbers.
In the higher elevations, snow covers much of the Mount Rainier year round. In lower elevations, you’ll find wildflower-draped slopes, lush rainforests of Douglas firs and western red cedars, and rivers snaking their way through the park. In the southeast corner of the park stands the Grove of the Patriarchs, where 1,000-year-old Douglas firs tower above the landscape.
Mount Rainier National Park is also home to all sorts of wildlife, including black bears, dear, elk, and mountain goats. Marmots, a large member of the squirrel family, are a common site in the park, often seen stretching out on rocks to bask in the sun as well frolicking in the meadows, seemingly oblivious to human presence. Summer is the best time to take in all that the park has to offer.
Mount Rainier National Park lies some 60 miles/96 kilometers southeast of Seattle. The park has four entrances, all off Interstate 5. Nisqually, on Hwy 706 via Ashford, near the park’s southwest corner, is the busiest and most convenient gate. The entrance is close to the park’s main nexus points of Longmire and Paradise, both of which have a number of important trailheads. Paradise is served by the flying-saucer-shaped Henry M Jackson Visitor Center.
The other entrances are Ohanapecosh, via Hwy 123; White River, off Hwy 410; and Carbon River, the most remote entryway, at the northwest corner.
Tours & Tickets
Admire close-up views of Mt Rainier’s snowcapped peak, one of Seattle’s most iconic sights, on this full-day nature tour. See glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife ... Read more
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)