Mount Rainier National Park Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
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  • Still Colorful Flowers but Certainly End is Near
    Still Colorful Flowers but Certainly End...
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  • Still Hanging On, and Colorful Despite October
    Still Hanging On, and Colorful Despite...
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Mount Rainier National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    mtncorg profile photo

    mtncorg says…

     Mammoth mountain, huge glaciers, grand flower gardens and lots of wildlife 

  • Con
    chewy3326 profile photo

    chewy3326 says…

     Bad roads in Carbon River corner 

  • In a nutshell
    lennywoods profile photo

    lennywoods says…

     Incredible, must see activity when visiting Seattle 

Mount Rainier National Park Things to Do

  • Beautiful Tipsoo Lake

    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...

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  • Don't miss the gorgeous views

    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...

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  • Center of Activities - Paradise

    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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Mount Rainier National Park Hotels

Mount Rainier National Park Restaurants

  • Where to Eat

    Restaurant or snack bar service is available at the Paradise Inn, National Park Inn, and Sunrise Day Lodge. There are also a variety of dining options in nearby towns.

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  • Rustic Dining

    The feel of the lodge was totally Northwest. We settled in the rustic dining room and ordered basic dishes such as beer battered fish sandwiches and chile. While we waited for our meals, we read the placemat and learned what to do if we saw a bear or mountain lion. Tip - make yourself look big. Lunch is family friendly and afterwards, you can get...

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  • hot chocolate with The Mountain

    Mount Rainer National Park is only a couple hours from two major cities but right in the vicinity there isn't much. The gateway towns are very limited and a bit of the drive from the interior of the park. For that reason, it makes sense to bring all supplies with you. While the campgrounds were great places to hang out and eat, we found it more...

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Mount Rainier National Park Nightlife

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    the top of Rainier aglow at sunrise 1 more image

    by richiecdisc Written Nov 4, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As with most National Parks, nightlife is pretty slim. There are bars in the Lodges and certainly if you are celebrating something or just want to unwind, they are nice enough places to go. But when you come all this way and are in the presence of such incredible natural beauty, you should take full advantage of it. Sunsets on the mountains are amazing things and sunrises perhaps even more so. You need to get yourself into position to fully appreciate these wonderful things and that generally involves getting out of bed (or your sleeping bag) early. The pictures will be well worth it and you will remember it far longer than that sleep in too. ;)

    Dress Code: Dress warmly for both sunrise and sunset in the mountains. It's chilly even in summer at high elevation.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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Mount Rainier National Park Transportation

  • Check for Road Closures and Basic...

    Some basic things about getting around inside Mount Rainier National Park:Entrance Fee: $15 for a vehicle for 7 days. Or, if entering on foot, bicycle, horseback, motorcycle, etc. $5.Suggested Route: Despite what your GPS or other advisor may say, from Seattle I highly suggest taking Interstate 5 through Tacoma to Highway 512, then east to State...

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  • Privately Run Tours to the Mountain

    As stated in a previous tip, public transport services are quite far from Mount Rainier National Park. However, several companies operate bus, taxi or van service and/or commercial tours to the park from spring to fall. (If you try to come in winter, then you are on your own!) I have never used any of these companies, but this is to let you know...

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  • To and Around the Park

    There are commercial tours available of Mount Rainier National Park; but I prefer having my own car. That way I can go where I want when I want and stay as long or short of a time as I wish. The nearest airport is probably SEATAC International Airport about 100 miles away.

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Mount Rainier National Park Shopping

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    no, cherries don't grow wild in Mount Rainier

    by richiecdisc Written Nov 4, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The drive to Mount Rainier National Park is surprisingly flat. It also quite fertile and is a prime growing area in the state of Washington. I guess it has something to do with the volcanic soil. At any rate, you can pick up some very nice produce on your way into the park and if you are camping it's a good idea. Small farm stands dot the road leading to the park. Stop in and help the local economy and your own as well. You'll find produce at a fraction of supermarket prices!

    What to buy: Cherries are one thing that the state of Washington is well known for and it was prime time with everyone selling them. They were great quality and super cheap at $2 a pound.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

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Mount Rainier National Park Local Customs

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    keeping food away from bears is your responsiblity

    by richiecdisc Written Nov 4, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Though Mount Rainier National Park is not noted as a big bear park, this is a wilderness area that is home to black bears. Though not as troublesome as at parks like Yosemite, you still need to practice food storage tactics to protect not only your food but also the bears. Luckily, this is not as extreme as it is in Yosemite where you have to take all food out of your vehicle even if just at the visitor center. The bears are not in the habit of breaking into cars but the way to keep that the case is to never feed a bear. Feeding a bear also means leaving food around for bears to eat.

    You must be especially careful in the backcountry. Never keep any food or odorous items in your tent. Use whatever food storage means provided by the park. At Shriner Peak Campground, there was a pole that you hung your food from. You used a separate pole to place your pack or food storage bag up there. These poles were pretty heavy so it wasn't as easy as it initially looked!

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking

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Mount Rainier National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Obey the Warning Signs

    This is a very rugged and desolate area. Emergency response will be difficult and require some time. There are a lot of steep drops with questionable footing so stay away from the edge. This is also bear country so always be on the lookout for bears and other wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife. Be extra careful crossing streams and creeks. Stay...

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  • There are Bears in the Park, Plus other...

    Yes, in fact there are bears in the park, and the chances of seeing one are very slim. They are very shy of people, unlike their relatives in other national parks. Typically, they will be doing what you see here: running away from you, or your car, or any other artificial sound that is strange to them.You will also run into foxes, which will also...

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  • treat the water, drink the water

    When traveling in Mount Rainier's backcountry, you must treat all water sources before drinking it. This can be done chemically, by boiling or with a filter. Of course, this is if there is a water source. When all our our chosen backcountry routes turned out to be closed due to late snow melt, we went with ranger's suggestion of camping on Shriner...

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Mount Rainier National Park Tourist Traps

  • DM_PDX's Profile Photo
    View from Paradise

    by DM_PDX Written Sep 28, 2002

    Where everyone goes so extremely crowded. Skip the observation tower, take a short hike, and get the real mountain experience in the outdoors.

    Unique Suggestions: Park, hike and don't look back.

    Fun Alternatives: Sunrise Visitor Center has similar amenities, but is a little less crowded.

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Mount Rainier National Park What to Pack

  • stay warm, stay dry

    With the 93 mile Wonderland Trail encircling Mount Rainier, this is one place to bring your backpack but there are many shorter hikes that a day pack will suffice for. Sturdy hiking boots and warm cushioned socks will keep your feet happy. Dress in synthetic layers to keep yourself warm and adaptable to the ever changing weather around The...

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  • Dress for everything

    The mountain makes its own weather and the Paradise side is ranier than the Sunrise side, so be prepared for anything. A summer day can begin cool and cloudy and warm up quickly. Rain is always possible, so dress in layers and bring raingear.

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  • Mount Rainier National Park Hotels

    7 Hotels in Mount Rainier National Park

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Mount Rainier National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Wildflowers and Plants in October

    The growing season is very short in the 5,000 foot and above altitudes. With so few weeks available for blooming and growing, it is not unusual for a few of the flowers to be in bloom, even in October (if the snow hasn't come by then).Certainly, by October things are towards the end of their season, and many of the flowers are certainly on their...

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  • Martha Falls

    I'm not sure that much of anything these days falls into the "off the beaten path" category in Mount Rainier National Park, but these falls are at least one of the lesser appreciated attractions in the park, even though several thousand people drive past them on certain days.Located several miles east of the Reflection Lakes area, Unicorn Creek...

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  • Bear Grass

    When not in bloom, bear grass goes mostly undetected though Native Americans used its tough blades for weaving baskets. When its incredible flowers appear in light bulb-like clusters atop its long stalks, it is a grand show. Its range is from British Colombia to Northern California, as far east as Wyoming and is something to be on the lookout for...

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Mount Rainier National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Nisqually Vista Trail

    The trailhead for the Nisqually Vista Trail is located in Paradise. This trail is a 1.2 mile loop with interpretive signs. It leads through very beautiful meadows of wildflowers to a view of Nisqually Glacier (except when it is real cloudy and foggy like the day I was last there). The flowers were still pretty and colorful. Good Hiking Shoes,...

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  • Wonderland Trail

    The Wonderland Trail circles through the park and is a total of 93 mile in length. It connects with many of the other trails in the park, so you can access it in many different locations. Good Hiking Shoes, water, a snack, sunscreen, and a hat

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  • Box Canyon Trail

    This is a short, paved, interpretive trail that leads to the very narrow, 115 foot deep Box Canyon. Nice views and interesting canyon. Much of this trail is accessible. Good Hiking Shoes, water, sunscreen, and a hat

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Mount Rainier National Park Favorites

  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Mount Rainier is a great park and well worth a visit. I had been here several times but it was not until my visit in 2010 that I really documented my visit with photos.Mount Rainier National Park preserves a vast mountain wonderland with a wide variety of plant and animal life for you to enjoy. The best place to start is at one of the visitors...

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  • the area's "home" mountain

    The sight of Mount Rainier from close-up or afar is breathtaking. No visit to the Pacific Northwest is complete without seeing it. Mountains are rarely measured by height alone. Just because a peak is 20,000 feet does not guarantee awe and fame. Much of this depends on where it is. Proximity can work both ways. Being close to a highly populated...

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  • in its own special way

    A half hour later, I pulled out our camp stove and made up a hot chocolate for my very understanding wife who had sat patiently in the cold, enjoying her admittedly beautiful view. We still had to carry all our gear up Shriner Peak later that afternoon but for now Rainier was our companion as we sipped our hot beverages. The hike would prove a...

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Explore Deeper into Mount Rainier National Park
A short stop at the Narada Falls
Things to Do
Beautiful Reflection Lake
Things to Do
Nisqually Vista Trail
Things to Do
Paradise Area: The Basics
Things to Do
Paradise Area: Myrtle Falls
Things to Do
Box Canyon
Things to Do
Sourdough Ridge Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Palisades Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Grove of the Patriarchs trail
Sports & Outdoors
Summerland Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Owyhigh Lakes Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Stevens Canyon Hiking Trails
Things to Do
Longmire Museum
Things to Do
Historic Longmire
Things to Do
Narada Falls
Things to Do
Guide Service/Climbing Info
Things to Do
Museum
Things to Do
Paradise Visitors Center
Things to Do
Historic Paradise
Things to Do
Mid-Mountain Forest
Things to Do
The Castle
Things to Do
Reflection Lakes
Things to Do
Louise Lake
Things to Do
Stevens Peak
Things to Do
Martha Falls
Things to Do
Stevens Creek
Things to Do
Box Canyon
Things to Do
Silver Falls
Things to Do
Falls Creek
Things to Do
Grove of the Patriarchs
Things to Do
Stevens Canyon Road
Things to Do
Hiking Trails Along Sunrise Road
Things to Do
Sunrise Day Lodge
Things to Do
Views From Sunrise Area
Things to Do
Sunrise Visitors Center
Things to Do
Sunrise Lake
Things to Do
Sunrise Viewpoint
Things to Do
Frying Pan Creek
Things to Do
Summerland
Things to Do
White River Entrance Station
Things to Do
Map of Mount Rainier National Park

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