Despite its active volcano status, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. It boasts the origin of five major rivers. The highest point in the Cascade Range and the state of Washington is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Don’t let that scare you away — the wildlife, scenery, and rich history is worth the trip!
Why You Should Nest Here
If you’re looking for an adventure, Mount Rainier offers a great escape. Spend the weekend exploring forests filled with evergreen conifers, which keep their needle-like leaves year-round, or gaping at waterfalls, which are plentiful! Brighten up your Instagram feed with pics snapped from location hotspots or hike along the 260 miles of maintained trailhead. You can also travel tucked inside a gondola with million-dollar view or feel the wind rush through your hair as you zipline across treetops. There is something for everyone at Mount Rainier.
Pull Over and Pop Up
With three car camping options at this Washington icon — Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River — with more than 100 individual sites each within Mount Rainier, you’re sure to find a great spot to pull over and pop up. Sites vary in elevation, with White River ranking the highest, coming in at 4,400 ft. Cougar Rock is slightly lower at 3,180 ft. and then Ohanapecosh is the least, at 1,915 ft.
Visitors that flock to Mount Rainier National Park often stop to check out Mount St. Helens. Both mountains are active volcanoes, part of the Northwest’s “ring of fire.” Bike up Westside Road with approximately 1,120 feet of gain. Hike alongside Bench and Snow Lakes, the latter of which may have received its name because of the icy meltwater from the snowfields of the Tatoosh Range that drains into it. Hit Old-Growth Forest and stand among trees ranging from 250 to 350 years in age! If you’re nesting in autumn or early summer, venture off to one of the area’s 18 spectacular waterfalls. Ride the gondola up to Crystal Mountain summit for mesmerizing mountain views. During the spring, look for ephemeral waterfalls that appear after rainstorms.
Get Your Sport On
Mount Rainier is a dream for adventurers. Five rivers run through the National Park with water activities abounding. Hiking, fishing, and boating are all accessible in the park and saddle and pack animals are also allowed. Bikers will love the hilly, winding roads. While there are no designated bike trails in the park, bikes can be ridden on public roads and campground roadways. Mount Rainier is also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, ideal for thrill-seeking climbers. Each year, thousands of adrenaline junkies successfully summit the 14,410-foot active volcano. Skiing and snowboarding are also popular during the winter season.
Pro: You’ll never run short of where to explore or get tired of the stellar views. Book ahead options are accessible for Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds.
Con: White River is available on a first come, first served basis. Visitation is at its peak July and August. Consider visiting mid-week during these two months.
Cost: $20 per party + $20 registration fee
Access: Cougar Rock is open May 25 – October 8; Ohanapecosh is open May 25 – October 8; White River is open May 25 – September 24