Nest at Mount Rainier

 

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.

Must See

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.

 

To Help You Navigate Your Trip

 

ProYou’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

Awe at Arches National Park

Don’t miss a single Insta-worthy sunset in this red-rock paradise. With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks, you’ll struggle to concentrate on your activities as you ponder the enormity of your surroundings and how such a place even exists!

Why You Should Nest Here

Spectacular, awe-inspiring, magnificent — these are just a few words that will come to mind when basking in the view of Arches National Park, located outside of Moab, Utah. The arid, high-desert environment makes for hot summers and cold winters. The park is sprawled across 76,518 acres. You’ll see vibrant pops of color nestled among red rock desert, thanks to flowering prickly pear cacti, wildflowers, and yucca, while the campground is forested with Utah juniper and pinyon pine. With several places perfect for picnicking, you’ll never be short on views of towering spires, fins, and balanced rock formations. The elevation is about 5200 ft. Its year-round amphitheater is also pretty sweet.

Pull Over and Pop Up

There are 51 sites at Devils Garden Campground. Camp among slickrock outcroppings at Devils Garden Campground, which is about 18 miles from the park entrance, and the only place to nest. Camping facilities include picnic tables, potable water, grills, and toilets. At night, you’ll see nothing but stars, while in the morning you’ll be in awe of its 2,500+ natural arches, the highest concentration in the world! If wildflowers are your jam, head there in April or May, when they’re in full bloom.

 

Must See

The park itself is situated among natural sandstone arches and fins. Hike Balanced Rock trail, an easy 15- to 30-minute loop around the base of a strikingly fragile rock formation. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss Sand Dune Arch, which will lead you through deep sand to a hidden arch surrounded by sandstone fins. The little ones will love it! Marvel at Delicate Arch, a freestanding arch that has become synonymous with the state of Utah and is also one of the most famous geologic features in the world. Wow.

Get Your Sport On

Hikers of all abilities are welcome here. Some short walks lead right up to well-known rock formations, while more adventurous hikers can explore lesser traveled surroundings like “Primitive Loop” in the Devil’s Garden section of the park. If you’re feeling like you need a day off your feet, book a scenic bus tour. Off-site ATV ridings, ballooning, mountain biking, and river activities will get your engines revving. If you’re really adventurous, check out skydiving options.

 

To Help You Navigate Your Trip

Pro: Loads of hiking trails, including Broken Arch Trail, which is a scenic loop with a trailhead within the campground.

Con:  You’ll need to pack all your own food because you won’t find any restaurants in Arches National Park. The closest are in Moah, Utah, about five miles from the park entrance. Also: no showers.

Cost: $25 per night at an individual Devils Garden Site. Reservations months in advance are needed during high season (March–October).

Access: High season ranges from March 1 – October 31, reserve up to 6 months in advance. Definitely book ahead! Between November 1 – February 28, sites are first-come, first-served.