Mount Rainier National Park is located in the lovely state of Washington and has one of the tallest mountains in the U.S., which is also one of the largest active stratovolcanoes in the region. The beautiful area has stunning landscapes that skirt the enormous snow-capped mountain, as well as many other sights, glaciers, trails, and camping to experience. The towering mountain soars an impressive 14,000 feet into the sky, dwarfing everything for miles. The mountain is one of the most heavily glaciated peaks in the U.S., having 26 major glaciers in the area, several of which you can see on some of the trails. Permanent snowfields make up part of the landscape, as well as tree-covered mountains, running streams in the warmer months and green vegetation for miles and miles. Almost the entire park is preserved under the wilderness system to protect and maintain this gorgeous area for future generations. Join some of the 1.8 million people that visit this stunning park and the mighty Mount Rainier each year.
The Decade Volcano List
This specific volcano which has also been known as Mount Tacoma or Mount Tahoma which originated from the Native Americans is on the list called the Decade Volcano List. This list has sixteen volcanoes on it that are large have had or could have incredibly destructive potential and are in proximity to populated areas. The volcanoes on the list are continuously studied in hopes to learn more about them and prevent disaster from striking.
Basic Visiting Information
The park has five developed areas which range from camping and picnic tables to find hotels and an excellent visitor center. Areas that are developed are known as Paradise, Longmire, Sunrise. Ohanapecosh and Carbon/Mowich. Longmire is a 1916 building that currently houses a museum telling stories and showing displays of early days at the park’s beginnings. Paradise hosts the Jackson Visitor Center and is also the prime location for beautiful scenery. Fields of wildflowers grow here with the massive mountains in the backdrop, earning the name “Paradise.” Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached with a vehicle in the park. You can see the mountain, the massive Emmons glacier, and the meadows. The views alone plus the trail system make Sunrise one of the most visited places in the area. Ohanapecosh is on the drier and sunnier east side of the park. Here, you can experience the beauty of the huge trees that have grown here for decades. Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedar trees call the mountains home, and the view from higher up is stunning. Carbon/Mowich receives a significant amount of rainfall throughout the year and has a rainforest type appearance. Mowich Lake can be found in the area and is the largest as well as deepest lake and is often surrounded by wildflowers in the summertime.
Where to Stay Near the Volcano
There are three ways to stay in the area when you visit. Visitors can stay in official lodging, can camp in designated campgrounds, or they can camp in the backcountry wilderness areas. Overnight camping in the wilderness requires a permit, but you can experience the star-filled sky in the quiet of the trees and massive mountain. There are also four different designated campgrounds to stay in as well if camping out in the open wilderness makes you nervous. Most have water, toilets, fire grates and allow trailers. Amenities do vary, but most campgrounds will have what you need. Be aware that only one of the campgrounds has no potable water and only vault toilets.
Things to do
Mount Rainier National Park offers tons of things to see and do for you, your friends and your family. Consider hiking on some of the famous trails, camping, seeing the meadows filled with all the beautiful wildflowers during the warmer months, rock climbing, fishing, boating on one of the lakes, sledding, snowshoe walks, listen to a ranger-led talk and presentation and seeing all the amazing exhibits in the visitor center.
Winter on the Mountain
Due to the heavy snowfall, most of the roads are closed during the winter months for safety reasons at the park. People can still visit if their vehicles have the proper snow chains and can partake in sledding or just viewing the dramatic change in the surroundings. Winter camping is still available in designated areas. The white from Mount Rainier has spread, and all the vegetation and trees are white, as well as the once flowered-covered meadows and fields. The park is actually transformed into a winter wonderland, quiet and still and beautiful.
This particular place is trial heaven for hikers and backpackers. There are at least 35 different trials in various areas of the park. Some are just a few miles long, and others can be up to 18 miles in length with various difficulty levels. There are northeast trails, northwest trails, southwest trails, southeast trails, as well as a few specialty ones. One of the most talked about is the Wonderland Trail. The Wonderland Trail is famous because it is 93 miles long, yes, you read that right, 93 miles long. It is one of the only trails that hikers can take that encircles Mount Rainier. It is not considered an easy hike, as there are severe changes in elevation, terrain and the length alone will leave people out in the wilderness areas for extended amounts of time. If you wish to try to walk around the mountain on this trail, do so carefully. There are many Wonderland Trail campsites along the way, but you still need to be well provisioned and prepared. You must be an excellent hiker and have the proper gear and clothing too, as weather can be brutal on the unforgiving rock. Planning well for your extended hike will allow you to be safe and prepared, so you won’t have to end your trip sooner than expected.
The Most Beautiful Part of the State
This park is the nicest part of Washington State. The sheer size of the mountain and volcano is almost incomprehensible. Starting at the permanently white cap, you may wonder how and when it ever erupted and will it ever happen again. Over 10,000 people tried to hike to its summit, and less than half of them made it last year. Explore one of the many trails or sit in the beauty of the wildflowers, or listen to the quiet and see the stark white snow world around you as Mount Rainier National Park lets you see its beauty in all the seasons.