Mount Rainier National Park Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Mount Rainier National Park

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    Inspiration Point (Stevens Canyon Road)

    by glabah Written Aug 28, 2014

    Paradise Road joins the main road through the southern edge of the park in Stevens Canyon and a place near Narada Falls on the Paradise River. Just slightly south of this road intersection is a popular viewpoint that is named Inspiration Point.

    Naturally, the main attraction here is Mount Rainier.

    However, don't let the views of the various canyons and lesser peaks go without notice, as it may be worthwhile to walk along the walkway at the edge of the viewpoint and look out over the Paradise River canyon and the surrounding ridges.

    The road side pullout is mentioned in the Paradise area activities on the NPS web site.

    Looking North at Mt Rainier from Inspiration Pt Looking West at Paradise River Valley, Tatoosh Rng Tattosh Range from Inspiration Point Mt Rainier and Inspiration Point pull out Mt Rainier as seen from Wall at Inspiration Point
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    Sunrise Area Trails: Sunrise Ridge Trail

    by glabah Written Aug 14, 2014

    Please remember that the alpine meadows in this area are extremely sensitive, and take decades to recover if they are walked on. The plants at this elevation are extremely fragile.

    This trail is approximately 2 miles / 3.2 km in length, and runs from the Sunrise Visitor's Center to the Sunrise Point Parking Area. There is a short, steep section from the Sunrise Visitor's Center to the top of the ridge, but from there eastward the trail is very gently sloped.

    A branch trail runs to the top of Dege Peak, approximately 1.3 miles / 2 km east of Sunrise Visitor's Center.

    There are several small viewpoints looking north from this trail, but for the most part the views offered from this trail are to the south and east, with some good views of Mt Rainier to the west.

    The first segment of the trial is part of the Sourdough Ridge Nature Trail. At the eastern end of the loop formed by this trail, the Sunrise Ridge Trail heads straight east along the top of the ridge.

    Also be aware of potential problems at high altitude: altitude sickness, and lingering snow on the trail, etc.

    Sunrise Ridge Trail looking West to Mount Rianier Sunrise Ridge Trail looking East Sunrise Ridge Trail looking Southeast to Mt Adams Wildflowers along Sunrise Ridge Trail in July Lingering Snowpack in July on top of Trial
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    Clover Lake: Sensitive Alpine Lake

    by glabah Written Aug 13, 2014

    As with the other areas at high altitude around Mount Rainier, please be careful to not step on plant life and stay on trails, as it can take decades for the plant life around the lake to recover from being walked on.

    There are a couple of logs that are popular places for people to sit.

    This is also a high mosquito area during the warm months and you are advised to bring repellant during that time.

    As noted in my Sunrise Point to Clover Lake Trail tip, the like is only about 1.3 miles / 2 km from the Sunrise Point Parking Area.

    Clover Lake is Sensitive Alpine Meadow Lake Clover Lake is Not Large but Attractive Clover Lake at Far Left, Sunrise Lake at Right
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    Sunrise Point to Clover Lake

    by glabah Written Aug 13, 2014

    As this is a sensitive area, please do not cut off the switchbacks or wander off the trail into the meadows, or camp in areas that are not designated as such. It can take decades for these alpine plants to recover from someone walking over them.

    This trail isn't too difficult, starting from the Sunrise Point Parking area. Keep in mind that other than the paved parking area there is little in the way of facilities at Sunrise Point, and if you don't mind a longer walk and want a snack bar and rest room at the end of your trip you should probably add the extra two miles each direction and start from the Sunrise Visitor's Center, and use the Sunrise Ridge Trail to get to the Sunrise Point Parking Area.

    From Sunrise Point Parking Area to Clover Lake the hike is about 1.3 miles / 2 km one way. The trail starts off going east fairly wide and somewhat level for about 1/4 of a mile, and passes a small viewpoint on the trail. However, after this, from Sunrise Point there is an approximate 400 foot vertical drop, which you will have to climb on the way back.

    After this drop, there is little elevation gain or loss as the trail travels through the White River Park alpine area. There are several open areas that may have wildflowers.

    Mosquitos heavily cover this area when the warm weather starts, so you will want to bring some insect repellant if you do this trail during that season.

    Typical Section of Trail from Sunrise to Clover Lk Trail as it Approaches Clover Lake Section of Clover Lake to Sunrise Point Trail Steep Section descending from Sunrise Point Part of Trail near Parking Area is Wide
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    Sunrise Point: Popular Parking on Sunrise Ridge

    by glabah Written Aug 13, 2014

    There isn't much to the Sunrise Point area other than the small but very popular paved parking area, several benches, and a walkway along the road that allows views of the surrounding countryside. There are no official restrooms here, but several trees near the parking lot are fairly popular choices among visitors for this purpose.

    This parking area is a through point for the Sunrise Ridge Trail. Going east from the parking lot is actually a trail that heads north to The Palisades and Brown Peak. The Palisades camping area is towards the end of this trail. The trail also passes Clover Lake and Sunrise Lake, which are heavily populated with mosquitos during the very short summer season.

    Going west, the trail runs along the ridge to the Sunrise Lodge parking area, with a branch trail to the summit of Dege Peak.

    If you don't feel like a long walk at all, there is a small viewpoint just east of the parking area. Even if all you want to do is get out of the car for a little bit, this location offers some good views.

    Sunrise Point Parking Area and Trailhead and Views Benches and Parking Area west to Mount Rainier Sunrise Point parking right, Sunrise Lake center Sunrise Point Parking from Dege Peak Mount Rainier, Little Tahoma from Sunrise Point
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    Longmire: History and Trailheads

    by glabah Written Aug 4, 2014

    The Longmire area is the first major stopover area that you pass through on your way from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise. Several trails begin here, there is a picnic area (though a bit too close to the highway for my tastes) and a small history museum dedicated to the park. This is also the home of the Wilderness Information Center, which is usually the place where climbers attempting an ascent obtain the necessary permits.

    This is also one of the primary residential areas for those that work in the park.

    There is an overnight lodge, a restaurant, and a gift shop.

    Longmire in the Shadow of Mount Rainier Map of the Longmire Community
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    Sunrise Area: Sunrise Ridge Trail

    by glabah Written Jul 29, 2014

    At approximately 2 miles (3.3 km) in length, this trail runs near the top of Sunrise Ridge, from above the parking area to the Sunrise Point Parking area. The trail is narrow for most of its length (the section that is part of the Emmons Vista Trail is wide, however). This trail is used to access Dege Peak. There are several viewpoints that look north, but for the most part the most spectacular views are to the south and slightly east.

    The meadows and plant life here are extremely sensitive, and going off trail here is punishable by a fine due to the amount of damage it does to the meadows.

    The elevation gain and loss between Sunrise Point and Sunrise Lodge is not huge, so this is a reasonably easy trail. However, it may be harder for those not used to the elevation.

    Snow is slow to leave this area, which is why it usually doesn't open until July. Be warned you may run into snow banks on the trail.

    To get to this trail, from the pit toilet area of the Sunrise Lodge area, you will notice a wide dirt path heading north. Take this path up the hill, and at the first trail intersection turn right and head east along the ridge.

    Sadly, while this is a beautiful trail through some fairly pristine areas, for some distance along the trail it is possible to hear traffic on the road to Sunrise Lodge.

    All photos that were used on this tip were taken in late July, 2014.

    Looking west on Trail along Sunrise Ridge First Part of Sunrise Ridge Trail is Wide Looking South from Sunrise Ridge Trail to Tamanos Looking North at Viewpoint to Mt Baker Looking West from Sunrise Ridge Trail
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    Sunrise Area: Dege Peak (7010 ft / 2135 m)

    by glabah Written Jul 28, 2014

    This rocky outcropping along Sunrise Ridge is one of many such rocky viewpoints, but it is the highest in the area along this ridge. It is not too difficult a hike (it is about 1.5 miles / 2.4 km) from Sunrise Trailhead and perhaps 0.7 miles / 1.1 km from the Sunrise Point parking area. The elevation gain is only slightly less than 1,000 feet in that distance.

    The rewards for this trek are are quite amazing, as the flat rock top to Dege peak allow for a full 360 degree view in all directions. Mt Rainier, of course, but also Mount Adams and in the far north distance Mt. Baker. Hundreds of minor peaks are also visible.

    Mt Adams, Sarvant Ridge and Glaciers from Dege Pk Mount Rainier and Hwy to Sunrise from Dege Peak Mount Baker (L) and Sourdough Mts from Dege Pk Dege Peak (L) from trail near Sunrise Pt Parking
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    Sunrise Trailhead and Visitor's Center

    by glabah Written Jul 27, 2014

    This is one of the highest paved roads in Washington, with the final parking lot located at 6,400 ft (1,950 m). The road up here is closed most of the year, and it is best to check the road conditions on the national park web site to make sure that the road is open. Generally it is open sometime in July through sometime in September, but the exact dates depend on the weather that year.

    The views from this point are quite spectacular, but there is a reason I have included views of the huge, overcrowded parking lot: this is one of the many areas in the park that can be heavily crowded, especially on the weekends. If possible it is best to come on low traffic days, such as weekdays, or as late in the year as possible. Though, it should be noted that later in the year there is less snow on the mountain and on the surrounding peaks, so the scenery might not be to your liking later in the year.

    Try to arrive as early in the day as possible, in order to avoid traffic jams in the parking lot, at the pay station on the entrance road, and having to deal with the parking lot which can become completely occupied.

    There are a dozen or so different trail loops and out and back trail combinations that can be hiked from this point, as there are a number of trails from here. You can get a complete guide in many bookstores, or just do what you feel like doing and go back. All of the trails here offer spectacular views of not only Mount Rainier, but also surrounding peaks, and in many places as far as Mount Adams. There is also a series of meadows here, known as Yakima Park, that feature wildflowers during part of the year.

    The facilities here include a gift shop, a snack bar, a picnic area, and a small interpretive center. There are restrooms with flush toilets that are open most of the time, and a set of pit toilets slightly downhill from there that are open during most any time.

    Sunrise Visitors Center and Parking Area Looking S Mount Rainier and Sunrise Visitors Center Sunrise Interpretive Center and Day Lodge Sunrise Parking Area, Snack Bar, Restrooms Entrance to Sunrise Parking Area
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    Beautiful Tipsoo Lake

    by Ann75 Written Aug 28, 2013

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    The Tipsoo Lake area is a really beautiful area and I don't think all too many tourists stop there. We were there at the end of July on a hot summer day, we did get there fairly early in the morning but all day we didn't see many people. We took almost the whole day out to visit this area. There are several hiking trails, we only did the loops around Tipsoo Lake and part of the Naches Peak trail. We mainly enjoyed the gorgeous views of Mount Rainier and the gorgeous wildflowers that were in full bloom. From the parking lot just follow the trail and it will take you along Tipsoo Lake, go around the lake so you will have great views of Mount Rainier. Along the way there are several benches if you need a rest or just want to relax and enjoy the view.

    This place was about the most beautiful place we visited in Mount Rainier National Park.

    Beautiful view of Tipsoo Lake and Mount Rainier Tipsoo Lake and Naches Peak Reflection of Mount Rainier in Tipsoo Lake View near the Tipsoo Lake Tipsoo Lake down below
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    Don't miss the gorgeous views

    by Ann75 Written Aug 28, 2013

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    Even though you are hiking a certain trail, don't forget to stop and take in the beautiful views and enjoy the nature that surrounds you. When visiting the Paradise area there seem to be gorgeous views everywhere you look. We did a few hiking trails there and wondered off to enjoy some other views in the area. I can't remember the name of all the mountain ranges, but it sure is beautiful. We were also there when the wildflowers were in full bloom, so we stopped and took a closer look at those as well.

    Views from the Paradise area Another great view from the Paradise area Smallcreeks along the different trails Views along the trails Beautiful wildflowers along the trails
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    Center of Activities - Paradise

    by Toughluck Written Feb 24, 2012

    Located on the south side of the mountain, Paradise is the primary center for activities. The lodge, shops, visitor center and trails all are available in this area. If you've not been here before, this is a recommended starting place.

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    A short stop at the Narada Falls

    by Ann75 Written Jan 27, 2012

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    This waterfall might perhaps be the most popular one in Mount Rainier National Park. Narada Falls seems to have a following of visitors. Veiling over a wall of basalt, the Paradise River slides and plunges 17 feet into a small pool then spreads out and veils 159 feet in a lacy display that can stretch to 75 feet wide at peak flow. When the river is running high, be prepared to get soaked at the viewpoint as the spray always seems to be funneled straight at the trail. While the commonly enjoyed viewpoint provides the best views of the falls, a second, less developed viewpoint further downstream yields a side view of the falls from below, which has been used for some of the more famous pictures of this waterfall.

    The falls can also be partially viewed from road as you travel to the Paradise area from Ashcroft. It's near a large pullout about a half a mile east of the bridge over the Paradise River. During the winter, the falls freeze and become 150 feet of Icicles, which attract ice climbers from afar.

    View of the Paradise River from the bridge Top part of the Narada Falls seen from the highway A close up of the Narada Falls from the viewpoint A fuller view of the Narada Falls
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    Beautiful Reflection Lake

    by Ann75 Written Jan 27, 2012

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    For those who love photography, this is the place to be! We initially wanted to get here quite early as you get the best reflections when the water is still calm. Sunrises are stunning too if you don't mind getting up very early in the summer. Because the road through Stevens Canyon was close due to a landslide while we were there we had to drive almost 2 hours instead of 45 minutes to get to the Paradise area. We really didn't want to get up that early and left our hotel around 9.00am. We did get to Reflection Lake in the late morning and the water was still a little calm, just enough to get some reflections.

    There is a parking lot, but don't be let down if you can't see the beautiful view from there. There is a very short trail that takes you along the lake where you get the amazing views of the water and Mount Rainier.

    View of Mount Rainier & Reflection Lake View of Mount Rainier & Reflection Lake Mount Rainier & a small creek at Reflection Lake View of Mount Rainier & Reflection Lake View at Reflection Lake
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    Nisqually Vista Trail

    by Ann75 Written Jan 27, 2012

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    When visiting Mount Rainier you don't want to miss the Paradise area of the park. Here you'll find several trails to enjoy the stunning views of Mount Rainier and an abundance of wildflowers if you are here in the right time of the year. We visited at the end of July and saw lots of colourful wildflowers.

    Once you get to the Paradise area you may want to go in at the Jackson Visitor Centre to get a map of the trails. The Nisqually Vista Trail is an easy 1.2 mile loop trail, gaining only 200 feet elevation and has a high point of 5,420 feet. Allow 45 minutes to complete and more if you want to stop for photos of the amazing views. The trailhead is located west of the Jackson Memorial Visitor Centre at Paradise, you will see the signs. It is a family friendly trail and wheelchair/stroller accessible.

    This hike travels through beautiful forest overlooking the Nisqually Glacier. This is a great hike for kids and adults alike. The trail takes you through beautiful forested areas and wonderful meadows to an overlook of the Nisqually Glacier. The Nisqually Vista Trail is a self-guiding trail, but the National Park Service offers a guided tour of this hike in summer and leads snowshoe walks throughout winter. Inquire at the Jackson Visitor Center for more information. It is downhill all the way to the lookout and then uphill back to the parking lot, but both gradients are gradual.

    Beautiful wildflowers & Mount Rainier View of the Nisqually Vista Trail View of the Nisqually Glacier A small creek along the trail Beautiful Avalanche lilies along the trail
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