Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park WA

Visiting Seattle, Washington for a day or two. Your trip to Seattle will not be complete without seeing Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier is an active strato volcano at summit elevation of 14411 ft  above sea level in Pacific North West in state of Washington.   It is one of the highest mountains and also one of the most famous volcanoes on earth that are in the Ring of Fire. 

Enchanting view of Mount Rainier from AirPlane Window
Enchanting view of Mount Rainier from AirPlane Window

Mount Rainier is consider potentially the most dangerous volcano in the Cascade Range because of its great height, active hydro thermal system, extensive glacier cloak and frequent earthquakes. Mount Rainier National Park is a treasure chest of scenic valleys, snow laden mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, wild flowers meadows, hiking trails, camping grounds and wild life. Each corner of the park is beautiful, unique and mesmerizing.

For these reasons, some parts of the Mount Rainier National Park can become extremely crowded, particularly in the Summer. Mount Rainier has ski areas, sledding area that are famous during winter and early Spring season.  So once the snow falls start in the area, you can find the Solitude of Mt Rainier. The view of Mount Rainier National Park in Winter is extremely beautiful.

Cars lined up at Longmire Entrance at Mount Rainier National Park in Summer
Cars lined up at Longmire Entrance at Mount Rainier National Park in Summer

When the Seattle Skies clear on a sunny day, one gets to see the majestic sight of the mountain from distance.   All year around, on clear sunny day, the Mount Rainier is visible from Vancouver and Victoria BC (Canada) from 200 miles away. 

Mount Rainier National park is located 60 miles south east to Seattle. The Park is 369 sq mile area which encloses mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, numbers of glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife, thousands of hiking trails, visitor centers, camping grounds and more.

View of Mount Rainier from Seattle Down town- Great Wheel
View of Mount Rainier from Seattle Downtown
Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park WA

Mount Rainier National Park is a Paradise for hikers, nature lovers, bird watchers and of course photographers.  It is having all types of hikes starting from easy to strenuous.  Even if you are not interested to hike, there are many places that can be explored by just getting to park your car and getting out.

Mount Rainier National Park can be entered from 3 different routes.  You can choose as per your nearest location to enter the park.  Mount Rainier National Park is open all year around.  In winter Mount Rainier National park can be entered through Nisqually Entrance.

  1. Nisqually Entrance (Southwest Entrance – Open all year around)
  2. Steven Canyon Road Entrance ( East Entrance -Closed in Winter)
  3. White River Entrance (Northeast Entrance -Closed in Winter)
  4. Carbon River Entrance (Northwest Entrance – Open year around)
  5. Chinook Pass Entrance (Cayuse Pass- Closed in Winter)
Mount Rainier National Park Entrance at Chinook Pass
Mount Rainier National Park Entrance at Chinook Pass

There are 4 visitor centers at Mount Rainier National Park that are worth to visit to know and learn about the history of national park and the surrounding landscapes.

  • Longmire Museum & Information Center
  • Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Henry M Jackson Visitor Center (Paradise Visitor Center)
  • Ohanapecosh Visitor Center & Camping grounds
View of Mount Rainier along with green ranges of mountains in Mount Rainier National Park.  Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier

Visitor Centers of Mount Rainier National Park

Longmire Museum and Information Center

On entering through Nisqually Entrance and driving for few minutes the first place you get to see is Longmire Museum. Longmire Museum is in a historic park building. Museum offers visitor to discover about local history, information and has parking lot, rest rooms and picnic tables.

The National Park Inn, Longmire General store are adjacent to Longmire Museum.

Ancient tree artifacts at Longmire Museum at Mount Rainier National Park.  Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Old tree Artifact at Longmire Museum

Henry M Jackson Visitor Center

Drive from Longmire Entrance to Henry M Jackson Visitor Center is very scenic with beautiful and panoramic views of valleys, rivers, green lush forest and twisting turning roads heading up to Paradise. Watch out for wild life on your way.

Turning road to Paradise Valley
Fox sighting on the way to Paradise Valley

Henry M Jackson Visitor Center is located at 5400 feet at Paradise Mount Rainier is the most gorgeous place to visit and is open all year around. Paradise is well know for average 121 days of snow fall and 670 inches a year. It is the popular destination for skiers, snow boarders, campers, hikers and visitors during all year around.

There is a huge parking lot and additional over flow parking lot at Visitor Center. The Visitor center is worth visiting to stop and know about the mountain, gift shop, eat hot slice of pizza , grab a drink or have your own snacks. Need not to say it is Photographer’s Paradise. So Bring your camera and extra batteries.

Visitors enjoying the snow at Paradise in early Summer Mount Rainier National Park
Visitors enjoying the snow at Paradise in early Summer
View of the Parking lot and Visitor Center at Paradise Mount Rainier National Park
View of the Parking lot and Visitor Center at Paradise in early Summer
Henry M Jackson Visitor Center Paradise Mount Rainier National Park
Henry M Jackson Visitor Center Paradise in October
Henry M Jackson Visitor Center surrounded with snow wall
Henry M Jackson Visitor Center in Early Spring
Inside view of Henry M Jackson Visitor Center
View of Mount Rainier at Paradise (Henry M Jackson Visitor Center) on bright sunny day

Sunrise Visitor Center

Sunrise Visitor Center is Mount Rainier visitor center that is located at highest point at an elevation of 6400 feet which could be reach by vehicle. Due to its location at highest point in the park, it is buried deep in snow for most of the year. Generally it gets opened to visitors from mid July. Sunrise as the name suggests is also one of the first places in the park to capture morning’s early light

Splendid view of Mount Rainier at Sunrise Parking Lot Mount Rainier Visitor Center
Splendid view of Mount Rainier at Sunrise Parking Lot

With Close view of massive Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier and surrounding meadows of wild flowers, Sunrise is tough competitor of Paradise when it comes to scenic beauty. It is the most visited place in the park due to its panoramic and splendid views of the Mount Rainier.

It is the biggest center in the park that offers facilities for interpretive guided programs, junior programs , exhibit, book sales. There is no lodging facilities at Sunrise but Mount Rainier Guest Services runs a snack bar that serves hot meals and snacks at Sunrise day Lodge.

Sunrise Visitor Center at Mount Rainier National park
Interpretive Display exhibit at Sunrise Visitor Center
Parking Lot at Sunrise Visitor Center Mount Rainier National Park
Lodge/Snack Bar and Parking Lot at Sunrise Visitor Center

Ohanapecosh Visitor Center & Camping Grounds

Ohanapecosh Visitor Center & Camping Grounds are located next to crystal clear waters of Ohanapecosh river flowing through old growth forest. Ohanapecosh camping sites are famous among hikers and tourist looking for unique camping experience in midst of dense forest next to the peaceful river.

Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is so wide spread and huge that It is impossible to visit all places in limited time duration. It is famous among visitors for whole day long drive trips with pulling over scenic vistas to capture some magnificent views.

I have gathered the list of popular scenic pull over places that can be visited with families with small children, old age parents , grand parents or people with accessibility needs while driving through and stopping over for a day or few days trip to Mount Rainier National Park.

Road Side Attractions that can be Drive Through

  • Nisqually River Wooden Suspension Bridge
  • Trails of Shadows
  • Christine Falls (Bridge)
  • Glacier Bridge
  • Ricksecker Point
  • Narada Falls
  • Paradise Valley
  • Stevens Canyon Road
  • Box Canyon Overlook Bridge
  • Reflection Lakes
  • Tipsoo Lake
  • White River Campgrounds
  • Sunrise (Sunrise Visitor Center)
  • Paradise Valley (Henry M Jackson Visitor Center)
  • Ohanapecosh Visitor Center & Campgrounds
  • Myrtle Falls (at Paradise Valley)
  • Grove of Patriarchs Trail
View of National Park Inn, Longmire Museum and Longmire General store at Mount Rainier National Park.Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.

Nisqually River Wooden Suspension Bridge

Nisqually River wooden suspension bridge is located at Longmire village in Mount Rainier National Park. It can be reached by 5 mins walking from Longmire Musuem or you can drive till end of road and park at Longmire Village.

Nisqually River Suspension Bridge is the oldest lasting road bridge in Mount Rainier National Park and is one of the few road-bearing suspension bridges in the National Park system. The Timber bridge reflects the park’s “rustic style” through its use of native material in an attempt to harmonize with the rugged park landscape.

Nisqually River wooden suspension bridge  at Longmire village in Mount Rainier National Park, WA USA.

Nisqually River wooden Suspension bridge
Oldest Surviving Suspension Bridge of NPS at Nisqually River
Oldest Surviving Suspension Bridge of NPS at Nisqually River

Christine Falls Bridge

Christine Falls Bridge is over 4.2 miles from Longmire.  It is famous pull out view point and most picturesque as the viewpoint is below the falls with amazing national Park rustic stone bridge in front of it.  You can view the Christine falls from the road or can take two minutes’ walk down to the view point.

College Boys with US Flag on Christine Falls Bridge
College Boys with US Flag on Christine Falls Bridge

Glacier Bridge

On traveling from Longmire towards Paradise at distance of 5 miles there is the Glacier Bridge. On looking up the valley the view of Nisqually Glacier can be seen. Vehicles can be parked at parking lot before or after the bridge. Do not stop on the bridge and walk on the side walks only.

View of Nisqually Glacier from Glacier Bridge at Mount Rainier National Park.  Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
View of Nisqually Glacier from Glacier Bridge

Ricksecker Point

Ricksecker Point is located at 6 miles from Longmire.  Ricksecker Point road is one way road that gives scenic view of Mount Rainier, Nisqually Valley and Tatoosh range. While driving just 1 mile ahead of Glacier Bridge, you get to view this amazing view of Glacier Bridge and background valley from Ricksecker Point.

View of Glacier Bridge with Nisqually Glacier in background from Ricksecker View point at Mount Rainier National Park. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
View of Glacier Bridge from Ricksecker Point

Narada Falls

Narada Falls is located on the way from Longmire to Paradise.  The Falls can be viewed from the parking lot and one gets a aerial view. The Magical waterfall is best viewed from lower viewing point by walking down just 0.1 mile from Parking lot.

Narada Falls from Lower view Point

Stevens Canyon Road

Stevens Canyon Road is 19 mile scenic road inside Mount Rainier National Park that connects Paradise and south east entrance (Stevens Canyon Entrance) of the national park where it intersects Cayuse Pass and State Route 123. Steven Canyon Road gets seasonally closed during winters after heavy snowfall.

The famous places to pull over while entering through Stevens Canyon entrance and driving towards West are Box Canyon Picnic area, Reflection Lake and Paradise (Henry M Jackson Visitor Center). Stevens Canyon Road Tunnel height limit is 12’6″ which is not suitable for recreational vehicle with tall clearance height.

Drive through Steven Canyon Road
Mount Rainier in Summer -Drive through Steven Canyon Road
Stevens Canyon Road Mount Rainier National Park
How huge is Mount Rainier? Can you see a car on the road
Stevens Canyon Road Tunnel Mount Rainier National Park
Stevens Canyon Road Tunnel

Box Canyon Overlook Bridge

Box Canyon Overlook is located along Stevens Canyon Road and it provides access to trails and a nice view of the canyon.

View from Box Canyon Overlook Bridge, Steven Canyon Road at Mount Rainier National Park.  Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Box Canyon Overlook

Reflection Lakes

Reflection Lakes is the famous photographed location for reflection of Mount Rainier in to the lake water. To get the best shot, start early in the day to capture reflection when the wind is low and less crowd.

Reflection Lake Mount Rainier National Park WA
It was quite breezy and the water was moving. No luck at Reflection lake

Tipsoo Lake

Drive to Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass on Mather Memorial Parkway on eastern boundary entrance of Mount Rainier National Park is all time popular among photographers and tourists. Tipsoo lake is famous attraction at Mount Rainier that is most photographed landscapes in Washington all year around.

Upper Tipsoo Lake
Tipsoo Lake Covered with Snow in Winter Mount Rainier National Park
Tipsoo Lake Covered with Snow in Winter

White River Campgrounds

White River Campground in northeast section of Mount Rainier National Park presents tourists of all interests with ideal back country gateway. The source of White River is the Emmons Glacier and it originates from the ice caves at the bottom of the glacier. The water of White River looks milky or white as it carries the rock flour/sediments from the Emmons Glacier.

White River is perfect destination for hikers, climbers, Car sight-seers , Car campers with all restroom and washing facilities at camping sites and picnic area. The river is a large creek which flows on rocky floor with strong current.

White River Mount Rainier National Park
White River
Milky Flow of White River Mount Rainier National Park
Milky Flow of White River
White River coming out of caves at Mount Rainier
White River Coming out of Caves at Mount Rainier

Short Hikes that can be done with family and kids

Trail of Shadows

Trail of Shadows is a short and easy walking loop trail of 0.75 mile hardly takes 30 minutes to 45 minutes just perfect for families with small kids.  It can be accessed from National Park Inn at Longmire and can be done in either direction.  Trail starts with long red cedar trees, mineral springs with gas bubbling in water and skunk cabbage marsh field.

Sighting of Black tail deer at Trail of Shadows at Mount Rainier National Park. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Black tail Deer at Trail of Shadows
Long Red Cedar wood trees on Trail of Shadows at Mount Rainier National Park. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Red Cedar trees at Trail of Shadows
Skunk Cabbage in Marsh fields at Trail of shadows loop trail at Mount Rainier National Park. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Skunk Cabbage in marsh field

Myrtle Falls

Myrtle Falls is located with scenic view of Mount Rainier in background.  The falls can be reached from Paradise Visitor Center or Paradise Parking lot by walking 0.4 mile either on Golden gate trails or Skyline trail.  Watch out for snow on trails if you are visiting in early summer.  Good Hiking shoes or shoes with good grip, hiking poles are recommended if trail is covered with snow.

Myrtle Falls at Paradise Mount Rainier National Park. Visit Seattle. Easy Hike to Myrtle Falls. Washington state
Myrtle Falls, Paradise. Mount Rainier National Park

Grove of Patriarchs

Grove of Patriarchs trails is 1.5 miles round trip, easiest and heavily trafficked.  The trail can be reached from Steven Canyons Entrance on Highway 123. The parking lot gets full within early hours of summer.  The attractive feature of this trail is the suspension bridge on Ohanapecosh river and old, long trees along the trail.  After crossing the suspension bridge, there is a loop trail with ancient thousand years old Red Cedar, Douglas Firs tree. The feeling is like you entered in some giant trees kingdom.

View of Suspension Bridge on Ohanapecosh river at Grove of Patriarch Trails  at Mount Rainier National Park.Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Suspension Bridge at Grove of Patriarch Trail
Ancient Red Cedar, Douglas fir trees on Grove of Patriarch trails  at Mount Rainier National Park
Old trees at Grove of Patriarch trail

Famous Hiking Trails of Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier has thousands of hiking trails that caters to various landscapes from snow laden glacier, wild flowers meadows, rivers, waterfalls, old growth dense forest, historic Fire lookouts, valleys and more.

Frozen Lake Trail

Frozen Lake with Heart shape snow
Heart Shaped snow surrounding the Frozen Lake at Sunrise

Silver Falls Trail

Crystal Clear water of Silver Falls

Burroughs Mountain Trail

Mount Rainier National Park
Near to First Burroughs on Burroughs Mountain trail

Mount Fremont Fire Lookout Trail

Comet Falls Trail

View of Comet Falls , Mount Rainier National Park Washington USA
View of Comet Falls , Mount Rainier National Park Washington USA

Naches Peak Loop Trail

Beautiful View of unnamed Lake through Colorful Wildflowers at Naches Peak Loop trail
Beautiful View of unnamed Lake through Colorful Wildflowers at Naches Peak Loop trail

Panorama Point/ Skyline Trail

Skiers skiing from Panorama Point/Skyline trail
View of Skiers skiing from Panorama point /Skyline trail

If you love the waterfalls and like the soaking feeling in mist then do read on my post on “Waterfalls of Mount Rainier National Park” that are easily accessible and can be done with hiking along with children and family.

If you don’t want to hike, then You can just drive through and stop at Visitor Centers or at pull out for Viewpoints.  There are number of longer day hikes that can be done with family. For the families that love Snowshoeing, Do read on my post on Snowshoe Trails at Mount Rainier National Park.

Entrance fees Mount Rainier National Park WA

Mount Rainier National park is beautiful with majestic views of Glaciers, Canyons, Meadows, waterfalls, Campgrounds, Visitor centers.  Entrance fee per vehicle is $30 which is valid for 7 days.  If you have the Inter agency annual pass “America the Beautiful” or “North West Forest” the entry is free. (must present valid ID card)

There are few days in a year where entry to the National Parks in USA is free. Do check for those free days on National Park Site to plan your visit.

Check for Information regarding Road status, Weather, Operating hours , Live Webcams and other services on Mount Rainier National Park site.

Black tail Deer sight in colorful yellow bushes at Paradise , Mount Rainier National Park. Lovely Spring colors at MRNP. Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.  Easy Hikes and Road side attractions at Mount Rainier.
Eye test- Can you spot the Deer
On the way to Sunrise Visitor Center

If you have been to Mount Rainier National Park, do comment below on Mount Rainier National Park attractions that you can think of and would love to visit with your friends and families. There are many famous instagram places to visit in and around Seattle, Do read on “Must Visit Attractions in Seattle, Washington”.

Stay Healthy, Happy Traveling and Hiking…

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Must visit places at Mount Rainier National Park near Seattle. State of Washington.  Mount Rainier National Park Attractions. Visit Seattle, Active Volcano sight seeing places.
Places to visit at Mount Rainier National Park with family and kids
Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park with family and children

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53 thoughts on “Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park WA

  1. Webb of Learning

    I love visiting parks! They’re beautiful and stunning. This one seems to be jaw dropping. I will have to visit.

  2. jaysree

    Amazing pictures! My husband and I are planning to visit Mt Rainier this summer. This post is going to be our guide!!

    1. I am in love with Mount Rainier National Park too. I just can’t get enough on my several visits so far. It is truly a heaven on earth. Do visit it if you get a chance.

  3. happylittletadpole

    Mount Rainer is so beautiful!!! I need to get there and explore it this Summer! I live in Portland and the week after next I’m headed to Olympic National Park. I can’t wait to check it out! However this post almost makes me want to switch gears and head to Mount Rainer!

    1. Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park both are gems of Washington. Mount Rainier is an active volcano and a must visit with kids to enjoy. Thank you for stopping by to give a read.

  4. Madi Rowan

    These places sound incredible! I’m currently in St. Lucia & I just visited my first active volcano! It was so cool to see, I’d definitely like to visit more!

  5. Wow! Nature at its best. I’ve never been to Mount Rainier but it looks like l need to make my way there. The Narada Falls especially looks very impressive. My friend moved to Seattle for a few years and always talked fondly of it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. I would love to visit Mount Rainer National Park! So many things to experience, like you said. My problem right now is that my two teenage kids and wife don’t really like the idea of a nature- oriented vacation. They would rather visit a large city or the beach. I am hoping this changes as they get older.

  7. nclaesen

    This is absolutely beautiful! This has been on my bucket list for awhile, need to find a way to make it happen. I really love the picture of the suspension bridge!

  8. Yeah, I know that I missed quite a few things when I visited Seattle a couple of years ago. I went there for three days and it wasn´t by far enough time to explore everything. Not the city itself and definitely not the surroundings. Would love to go back and explore more!

    1. The nature there looks beautiful! Glaciers is something I have never seen and I am sure I would be amazed. The bridge with the waterfall looks really cute, imagine if that eouwo be high enough for a bungee jumping 😀

  9. mark melchione

    beautiful! I’m in New Hampshire and have hiked Mt. Washington a couple of times. I’d love to check out this area sometime

  10. Damn, this is beautiful! I only saw Mt Rainier from afar during a trip to Seattle and unfortunately didn’t have time to go to the park. After reading this, I really feel like I missed out. It sounds like an amazing place to hike and enjoy nature.

  11. Wow. All your photos are stunning and are giving me a serious urge to pack right now and head out to Mount Rainier! The fact that it only costs $30USD for 7 days in the national park is impressive! I’m used to Canadian fees for national parks, which are by the day and would be a lot more then $30 if you were there for 7 days. I like that they give you the time to enjoy your time in the park while not making it so expensive that some people can’t afford to visit it.

  12. Great post!! I always love reading about outdoor activities and that would always inspire me to do the same. However, I haven’t done much of hiking in the USA but it sure does look really fun. I don’t have any plans for the States yet but I sure would love to try.

  13. This has got to be the most detailed post I have come across on Mount Rainier national park and your photographs really show what a beautiful experience it is to visit this park. We love exploring nature and incorporating hiking adventures in our travels. So a trip to the Mount Rainier national park is definitely something we’d love to plan in the near future. I love the rustic feel of the oldest Suspension Bridge at Nisqually River – a stroll along this bridge while taking in the surrounding views of the nature sounds perfect.Will surely include a visit to Narada Falls and to the viewpoint of Christine Falls Bridge – that view of the falls and the stony bridge is so picturesque.

  14. Oh, I have just recently had a guest post about Seattle. To be honest, I never knew about the Mount Rainier, before I had the post. But since I saw it, I realized I have to be there one day. Thanks for describing it in such details. I never knew there such landscapes on the way and waterfalls.

  15. I would definitely go for Mount Rainier National Park when visiting Seattle, Washington. It would be interesting to see Ring of the fire volcano on one of the highest mountains. Crystal Clear water of Silver Falls looks very stunning and even the surround area is very peaceful and relaxed. The colorful wildflowers of Naches Peak Loop Trail are really very photogenic.

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