Mt Rainier National Park in Washington state, USA is known for its iconic glacier-capped Mt Rainier. Mt Rainier also known as Tahoma/Tacoma is a large active stratovolcano and is the tallest mountain range in the Cascade Range. The park mesmerizes with its beautiful landscape, breathtaking views of valleys, scenic lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, as well as marked hiking trails. Really a Paradise!!!
These photos are from a day trip to Mt Rainier National park in late August 2013.
Quick Facts and Tips
- Best Time to Visit
- Summer Months: July to August when wildflowers blooming
- Spring and Fall Months: Pleasant, but most park roads will be closed
- Fly into
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington USA
- Comfortable pants, hiking shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, Capri, sweatshirts, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, and rain gears. It will be cooler in Spring and Fall, so dress in layers
- How Many Days
- Main Attractions: 1-2 days
- Hiking/Camping: 3-5 Days
- What to expect
- The iconic glacier-capped Mt Rainier, Mountain Ridges, Glacier, Wildflower, Waterfalls, Green Valleys, Clear Lakes, Wildlife
- Be sure to check the Park Website for alters on road closure and current trail conditions.
- Entrance Fee: $30 per vehicle or from $15 to $25 per person/motorcycle, good for seven days.
- Try to be there early in the morning for best lighting and more elbow room so that you can cover most of the park’s attractions.
- Start early in the morning as the parking lots fill up quickly by late morning during summer in Paradise and Sunrise area.
- Stay on marked trails and use only open trails to preserve the meadows ecosystem.
- Take food and water so you can spend the day touring with the few restaurants within the park.
- Weak/no cell phone signals, highly recommend to have maps downloaded or printed.
- There is a lot to capture, so keep your camera ready. Make sure that camera is fully charged and also keep backup battery and memory cards
- Places to Visit
- Longmire Area (Christine Falls, Glacier Bridge, Ricksecker Point, Narada Falls)
- Paradise Area (Myrte Falls, Skyline Trail, Alta Vista Trail, Nisqually Trail, Reflection Lake, Inspiration Point)
- Sunrise Area (Tipsoo Lake, Sunrise Point, Sunrise)
- Best things to do
- Longmire Area: Longmire area is home for historic buildings and many scenic hiking trails. Relish driving east of Longmire through the Paradise Valley Road that opens up to excellent views of Nisqually Valley. Make sure to stop at the roadside attractions Christine Falls, Glacier Bridge, Ricksecker Point, and Narada Falls. Drive 4 miles east of Longmire to reach Christine Falls pullout. A short stroll from the pullout offers the classic views of the 69 feet high Christine Falls and rustic stone Christine Falls Bridge. Parking is limited and park only in the designated area. One mile east of Christine Falls pullout heading towards Paradise, there is a tall bridge known as Glacier Bridge. The view from the bridge is phenomenal. Do not stop your car on the bridge, rather park your car before entering the bridge or after crossing the bridge. Take a short walk on the bridge and enjoy the magnificent views of Nisqually Valley, Nisqually Glacier, and Nisqually River. Watch out for the ongoing traffic and take extra caution while taking pictures and walking on the bridge. Drive 1.5 miles east of the Glacier Bridge and take a right to Ricksecker Point road. This one-way road is open only in summer and offers remarkable views of Mount Rainier, Nisqually Valley, and the Tatoosh Range. The magical Narada Falls is located 2.5 mile east of Ricksecker Point (around 8 miles east of Longmire). You can view the falls from the large parking area or you can take a short but steep trail down for a better view of the 159 feet high falls. There are a bunch of picnic tables where you can relax and catch your breath after the uphill hike.
- Paradise Area: Visit Paradise and enjoy hiking to picturesque Myrtle Falls. This place is a paradise with spectacular views of Mt Rainier, colorful wildflowers, beautiful valleys, and waterfalls. The Paradise area offers many easy and great trails with stunning views. You can experience the real beauty of Paradise by hiking many trails located in the area. Many trails intersect each other so that you can make your hike short or long based on your preference, but either way you will be amazed by the gorgeous views. Enjoy Paradise Valley Road from Paradise parking lot to Steven Canyon Road. This 2 mile one-way road takes you through the beautiful meadows with Paradise valleys and Paradise river. There are couple of designated parking spots along the drive. Take caution while parking on the shoulder
- Stevens Canyon Road: Drive the winding, scenic Stevens Canyon Road and stop at the road side attractions Inspiration Point and Refection Lake. Inspiration Point Lookout is located 3 miles south of Paradise and offers spectacular views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding Tatoosh Range. One mile south of Inspiration Point Lookout is the Reflection Lake. Sunrise views at Reflection Lake are stunning. As the name suggests, on a calm and clear day the mirror image of picturesque Mt Rainier can be seen on tranquil Reflection Lake. Easy to access, few steps from the parking lot (parking is limited) offers stunning postcard views
- Sunrise Area: Drive to Sunrise Park Road (via Steven Canyon Road, then WA-123 N, and WA-410 E) and enjoy the popular attractions along the way. Take an easy stroll around the beautiful subalpine Tipsoo lake surrounded by gorgeous wildflower meadows. Stop at Sunrise Point Lookout for a gorgeous view of Sunrise Lake to the north, sweeping views of the Cascade Range to the east, and Mount Rainier to the southwest. The last stop on Sunrise Park Road area offers breathtaking panoramic views of surrounding valleys, Mt Rainier and other volcanoes in the cascade ranges
- Popular and easy hikes
- Nearby Attractions
- Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
- Mt Baker Wilderness Area
- The Museum of Flight
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