Visiting Seattle, Washington for a day or two. Your trip to Seattle will be meaningless without seeing Mount Rainier National Park.
Mount Rainier is an active volcano at summit elevation of 14411 ft above sea level. It is one of the highest mountains in Pacific North West in state of Washington. 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.
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.
There are 4 visitor centers at Mount Rainier National Park.
- Longmire Museum
- Sunrise Visitor Center
- Henry M Jackson Visitor Center (Paradise Visitor Center)
- Ohanapecosh Visitor Center
Here I am listing road side attractions and short hikes that can be done in a day or two day plan of visiting Mount Rainier National Park. Visitor Centers and Museum are the best for visitor to gain information about Park and local sight seeing.
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.
Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park
- LongMire Musuem and Visitor Center
- Trails of Shadows
- Nisqually River Wooden Suspension Bridge
- Glacier Bridge
- Ricksecker Point
- Christine Falls (Bridge)
- Narada Falls
- Henry M Jackson Visitor Center (Paradise Valley)
- Sunrise Visitor Center
- Myrtle Falls (at Paradise Valley)
- Grove of Patriarchs Trail
- Box Canyon Overlook Bridge
Road Side Attractions that can be drive through
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.
Road side Attraction- Glacier 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.
Road side Attraction- 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.
Road Side Attraction – 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.
Road side Attraction- Narada Falls
Narada Falls is located on the way from Longmire to Paradise. The Magical waterfall is best viewed from lower viewing point just 0.1 mile from Parking lot.
Road side Attraction- 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.
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.
Henry M Jackson Visitor Center is located at Paradise Mount Rainier, at 5400 feet and is the most gorgeous place to visit and is open 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.
Sunrise Visitor Center
Sunrise Visitor Center is located at highest point at an elevation of 6400 feet which could be reach by vehicle. It is generally open from mid July every year as it is covered in snow from Winter season to early summer. It is the most visited place in the park due to its panoramic and scenic 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.
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.
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.
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.
Frozen Lake hike is an easy scenic hike with an elevation gain of 500 feet. Frozen Lake trail head can be reached while driving to Sunrise Visitor Center.
Burroughs Mountain Trail
If you looking to get a closer view of the beautiful Mount Rainier, then Burroughs Mountain Trail is the best choice. Walking ahead 1 mile after Frozen Lake you reach to First Burroughs. The magnificent view of Mount Rainier stays in view for the rest of the trail leading ahead to Burroughs Mountain and the Glacier Basin.
Mount Rainier National park is beautiful with majestic views of Glaciers, Canyons, Meadows, waterfalls, Campgrounds, Visitor center.
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.
Check for Information regarding Road status, Weather, Operating hours , Live Webcams and other services on Mount Rainier National Park site.
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”.
Have you heard about the Volcanic Eruption of Mount St. Helens back in 1980 that made headlines news for destruction of wild life and forest. Do read on places to visit at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington.
Stay Healthy, Happy Traveling and Hiking…
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