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.
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.
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.
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.
- Nisqually Entrance (Southwest Entrance – Open all year around)
- Steven Canyon Road Entrance ( East Entrance -Closed in Winter)
- White River Entrance (Northeast Entrance -Closed in Winter)
- Carbon River Entrance (Northwest Entrance – Open year around)
- Chinook Pass Entrance (Cayuse Pass- Closed in Winter)
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Silver Falls Trail
Burroughs Mountain Trail
Mount Fremont Fire Lookout Trail
Comet Falls Trail
Naches Peak Loop Trail
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.
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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53 thoughts on “Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park WA”
Wow, great info and beautiful pictures!
What an amazing trip this would be! Thank you for explaining all the different areas and the best for kids!
I’ve never been to this national park yet. But the pictures are definitely enticing. I’ll use this as a guide when I visit.
This sounds like such a fun place to visit and the photos are beautiful!
xo a | http://www.alexandraquinlann.com
It is worth the visit. Thank you
Glad you find the information useful. Thank you Mary for giving a read.
I love visiting parks! They’re beautiful and stunning. This one seems to be jaw dropping. I will have to visit.
You will love this too. Its worth a visit.
The most beautiful place in Washington. Have been to Mount Rainer many times growing up and have so many fond memories of visiting with my family.
Yes Its most beautiful place. I am loving it. Each time I go with my family I have unique experience of its beauty.
How beautiful! I live in the mountains of NC. I’d love to visit the west coast one day and see how different the mountain ranges are out there.
You would definitely love to visit this. It is an active volcano with many glaciers. how interesting. I have been to Great Smoky mountains in NC.
This national park looks absolutely amazing and your pictures are breathtaking. I would love to visit the falls, glacier, and suspension bridge!
This place is perfect to introduce kids to nature and short hikes. Thank you
Oh wow! What a trip! I have never been but it would be amazing to go! Fantastic post!
How amazing! I went to my first national park last summer. I visited Acadia Park & it was incredible! I would definitely love to explore more national parks!
-Madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
Amazing pictures! My husband and I are planning to visit Mt Rainier this summer. This post is going to be our guide!!
Thank you Jaysree for stopping by.
Loving the info on this website , you have done outstanding job on the articles.
I am glad you like the information on my website. Thank you Sam for stopping by.
I love this. I’ve never been but this came up I’m a conversation I had with my friend on places we want to visit. Great info, and pictures!
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.
Wow, mount Rainier looks and sounds amazing, would love to visit one day 😀😀
yea Mount Rainier is amazingly beautiful and majestic. Do plan your visit. Thank you
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I am glad you like my website. I am trying to give my best. Your comments are inspiring. Thank you for stopping by.
Hey, great post! There is still a lot I haven’t seen around Rainier, apparently.
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!
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.
This National Park is so beautiful! I couldn’t decide which part enchanted me more. Your pics are gorgeous!
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!
Wooow, so beautiful places! This post can increase my knowledge about interesting place in Washington. Thank you for sharing.
I hadn’t heard of Mount Rainier before but it looks a lovely place to visit. Your photos are stunning too – wish I could take photos like that.
This park is so beauty and breathtaking! I have to visit now and see it for myself!
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.
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.
These look like such amazing hikes in the park! I used to live in Seattle and I’m so sad I never got to visit the park.
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!
Looks like a beautiful place, your photos on stunning. I need to put this park on my bucket list!
such beautiful place!! I would love to visit one day!
What a helpful post! Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey with us, I love it!
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!
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 😀
beautiful! I’m in New Hampshire and have hiked Mt. Washington a couple of times. I’d love to check out this area sometime
Oh Wow! This place is gorgeous!! I don’t know why I have never heard about it. I do really should go!! Thanks so much for all the info and for such a good photos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So detailed! I love it! Saving this for later!