Visitor Guide to Mount Rainer National Park in Washington
Mount Rainier located in Washington State is must visit park just like Yosemite is for California. It has the second highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,411-foot (4,392 m). Mount Rainer is the highest point in Cascade Range. It has 26 glaciers encircling the mountain peak with wild flower rich valleys, easily accessible waterfalls, sub-alpine wildflower meadows, and old growth rain forest dripping with moss. Mount Rainier Carbon Glacier, the largest glacier by volume in the lower 48 states. Mount Rainier National Park has 1.4 million visitor a year and the most popular parks in Pacific North West.
It is highly recommend to visit the park early morning from the south end during summer and spring season from Nisqually Entrance. This route and most other high elevation routes are closed during the winter. Before you leave home make sure you check the weather forecast of Longmire, WA that has 50% or less rain and clear skies conditions. Without clear skies you will not able to see the magnificent peak of Mount Rainier.
Visit the Longmire Museum and Visitor’s Center for park souvenirs a few minutes drive east of east entrance. On your way to Paradise, visit the Christine Falls right next to main rain. Very small hike to Christine Falls located right above the road is a great hike for anyone including families with small kids. Christine Falls is small and not very well-marked so keep an eye on it. Same thing can be said to Narada Falls located right next to the main road with well-marked turnout. Narada Falls is very large compare to Christine Falls, however, it is situated facing away from the main road you will only see it falling right next to you. You need to hike down the Paradise hiking trail to see Narada Falls and few other falls on the trail. While ascend to Paradise, you will pass by a huge bridge connection one side of the other side where you will see huge glaciers have eroded the rocks and created a breathtaking open area, and do not forget stop here to take pictures.
Primary palaces to visit is Paradise located approximately 5,400 feet on the south end of the majestic Mount Rainier peak that tower above the clouds. Paradise is located next to historic Paradise Inn built in 1915. Visit the Henry M. Jackson Visitor’s Center while visiting Paradise. On your way to Sunrise, do not forget to stop by Reflection Lake take scenic photos.
Driving further east of Paradise is very scenic you will be traveling top of the mountain over looking huge valleys way down below. Turn north when you reach eastern edge of the park. Turn left on white River Entrance and headed to Sunrise. Sunrise is the highest drivable area of the Mount Rainier at 6,400 feet. Trails such as Mount Fremont and Sourdough Ridge are well know. From Sunrise you will be seeing the northern glaciers of Mount Rainier. From Sunrise there are numerous hiking trails that lead to the base of glaciers. Depending on time and tiredness visit some of those trails to base of glaciers. After visiting, Sunrise in the afternoon headed north on SR410 to Enuclaw to exist Mount Rainier National Park on northern end.
For summer and springtime, Washington camping at Cougar Rock Campground located about 2 miles north west of Longmire. There is camping at White River Camp Ground near sunrise and Ohanapecosh campground near the visitors center and ranger station in southeastern park entrance near highway 123.
Mount Rainer National park is one of those must see parks in Washington State with currently non-active stratovolcano.