Mount Rainier National Park is the most popular park in the state. It has fantastic areas to explore. The Mountain is a popular challenge for people wishing to scale the peak. The park also has 240 miles of trails and is a super place to visit.
Established in 1899. 235,625 acres (97% is designated Wilderness). Includes Mount Rainier (14,410'), an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice.
The park contains outstanding examples of old growth forests and subalpine meadows. Mount Rainier National Park offers excellent opportunities for scenic drives, hiking, and mountain climbing. Most roads are open from late May to early October--all provide
stunning views and access to a variety of hiking trails and other sites.
Lots of campgrounds, great drives through the area and plenty of places to stay the night. You can stay at the Lodges in the park or just outside in one of the entrance towns.
It will be crowded on the weekends, so be prepared.
Entering from the Southwest Nisqually entrance, it is a great drive up to Paradise.
You will pass Sunshine Point(camping,picnic) and then Kautz Creek Trailhead. Very nice trail up towards Mount Ararat(6010') and Indian Henrys Hunting Ground(Views are great).
As you continue up the Main road you will reach Longmire(lodging, museum, Info Center and dining). There is a short Trail of the Shadows as well as Rampart Ridge
trailhead(good trail). After Longmire you drive on to Cougar Rock campground. Continue higher up to Christine Falls and on up to Paradise.
Paradise is the main visitors area with many short trails through meadows right at the base of the Mountain. (Visitor
center, lodging, dining)
Past Paradise you will find the road continue through the park towards Sunrise in the Northeast section of the park. Past forest, meadows, lakes, and streams. Box Canyon is a nice hike. You pass Cougar Falls and head south around Backbone Ridge, then back north through the Stevens Canyon Entrance. Grove of the Patriarchs trail is a great hike through some old growth forest.
Heading north the road goes past the Shriner Peak Lookout Trailhead. Up to Cayuse pass and down to the White River Entrance. White River has camping and some good trails to explore. If you continue on to the Sunrise visitor center you will find some outstanding views and quite a few trails to sample.
At less then 2 hours drive from Seattle it makes a perfect getaway. With great hiking trails to explore. For additional Mount Rainier hiking information visit http://www.washington-hiking-advisor.com
M. Johnson publishes the Washington Hiking Advisor website. 300 pages of Washington State Hiking Information. http://www.washington-hiking-advisor.com