Mount Rainier National Park is located around 100 miles Southeast of Seattle ,Washington. The park offers great opportunities for the natural beauty enthusiast, photographers, and many others. It provides beautiful scenic drives, hiking, climbing mountain, and its historical architecture. There are many pull outs along the way from where you can enjoy its beauty of Mount Rainier. Always make sure about the road conditions and weather before heading. For the current road condition check out the NPS site.
Mount Rainier National Park was established in the year 1899, on 2nd March. The park is surrounded in 235,625 acres. The mountain is an active volcano covered with snow and ice in more than 35 square miles. Mount Rainier gets its name after Admiral Peter Rainier in the year 1792 by an English explorer named George Vancouver. Vancouver was the first person who sighted this huge 14,410-foot volcanic peak while he was exploring the Puget Sound area.
Best month to visit:
Most roads of this national park are open from late May to early October and provides stunning views and access to various hiking trails and other sites. While many visitors attempt to see the park in a day, consider an in-depth exploration of one or two areas of the park.
1. Sunrise point
Sunrise point is located 60 miles north-east of the Nisqually Entrance. To visit this area of the park visitors must have to wait till early July when the road opens. The waiting is really worth full as it offers the most spectacular views of the mountain. In summer, you will find beautiful wildflowers which covers the meadows. The beauty is incomparable especially in the early morning when the first ray of sun falls on Mount Rainier. It also offers breathtaking views of Emmons glacier, and lots of other volcanoes in this Cascade Range.
Sunrise point at an elevation of 6,400 feet is the highest point where you can go by car at Mount Rainier National Park. The Visitor Center at Sunrise opens daily from early July till early October and then it is closed for the winter months.
There are lots of hiking trail in this region. If you have time, go for a day hikes in the Sunrise point area.
2. Paradise Point:
Paradise is located 12 miles east of Longmire and 19 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance. It is most famous point which offers gorgeous views and beautiful wildflower meadows. The main visitor center is located in the new Paradise Jackson Visitor Center which is in the upper parking area. It is mostly open daily from May to early October. But from mid-October to April, it is open only on weekends and holidays.
Road to Paradise point is open year round, hence it is also one of the prime location for winter sports. It receives about an average of 680 inches of snow every year. People visit this point for skiing, tubing, snowshoeing in winter.
Silver Falls: Falls are spectacular if you visit early in the season, like early July. There is a 3 miles loop trail which takes about 2 hours. Get the trail map at the Ohanapecosh visitor center. There is also a guided interpretive walk to the falls which is conducted usually on weekends.
Grove of the Patriarchs: It is located around 3 miles north of the visitor center and the campground. You can hike this 1 mile nature trail along the river Ohanapecosh along with the old growth forest.
Longmire is located in the south-west corner of the park is a designated national historic district. It is 6.5 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance. It was the first headquarter when the Mount Rainier National Park was established in the year 1899. However, it does not have the park headquarter anymore but the original building is now a museum. You will find the story of the early days of the Mount Rainier National Park here.
Near to Longmire is the Cougar Rock Campground and picnic area. It is 2 miles east of Longmire, and mostly open from late May to early October.
Viewpints while driving from Longmire to Paradise:
a. Christine Falls: It is located at 4 miles east of Longmire. There is a very short walk from the pullout which offers view of the falls.
b. Ricksecker Point: There is a one-way Ricksecker Point Road which is posted as Viewpoint, located 6 miles east of Longmire. It offers beautiful views of Mount Rainier, Nisqually Valley and the Tatoosh Range. This road is open in summer only.
c. Narada Falls: There is a steep but very short trail here. View of Narada falls is spectacular in late spring and in early summer months. It is located at 8 miles from Longmire.
Useful Links :
Well, if you like to sit back and enjoy the splendid beauty along the way, sure you can do that. There are many tour buses available which will take you to Mount Rainier National Park from Seattle and back. Here are few links of the tours which are available.