Established in the 1899 as the fourth American national park, Mount Rainier National Park covers 236,381 acres of beautiful Washington state and bases itself around the stunning Mount Rainier, the stratovolcano which gives its name to the park. Most of the hikes in this area cover the ground around the volcano and up its slopes. One of the most beautiful nature reserves in the whole country, it is no surprise that it’s also one of the most popular hiking destinations in the U.S. But you may be wondering what the best hike to do actually is. That depends on a lot, and there is a great deal of choice.
The reason there is such choice is that the park offers much more than stunning views of the mountain and down over the city of Seattle. There are also wildflower-filled meadows radiating from the foot of the mountain (meaning that not every hike needs to be an uphill slog) and, wherever you are, stunning views of this active volcano are all around.
Preparing for a Hike
It is likely that you will be making use of your car to get to Mount Rainer National Park and beginning your hike. It’s also possible to use it to get around the different points in the park and set off for different mini hikes. Rollercam, a company specializing in tie-down straps for leisure and outdoor pursuits, advise that it makes much more sense to bring everything you need with you instead of getting supplies when you arrive. You might also decide to go camping on one of the more gently sloping parts of the park. Moreover, the park is great for bicycle rides too. Accordingly, coming with a fully equipped car is the best way to get started.
Best Hikes at Mount Rainier
The best way to navigate the many choices you have is to consider what type of hike you would like to do and then to simply check out the options. Here are a handful to get you started:
This is a short trail that is pretty easy to do. Starting from the Henry Jackson Visitor Center, you’ll experience stunning views of the volcano along a mostly paved trail. This is an excellent hike for the whole family and, if you visit in August, you will see the stunning wildflowers in bloom. The hike can be a short as 45 minutes or as long as you like.
Grove of the Patriarchs
Mount Rainier National Park offers nothing if not sheer variety among its different trails. Take this trail, and you will be exploring a beautiful old-growth forest. The trees will obscure many of the views for which the park is famous, but it is beautiful in itself. This is one to go for if you feel like you’ve “done” the park before.
Wildflower meadows, old growth forests, and mountain views – it is clear that Mount Rainier National Park offers a lot. But it doesn’t stop there. By heading for a short hike to Myrtle Falls, you’ll see one of the most beautiful waterfalls anywhere in the world. In the distance, you will also catch the beautiful mountain views.
Sunrise Nature Trail
Starting at the cozy Sunrise Day Lodge, the Sunrise Nature Trail will acquaint you with not only the famous views, but also much of the park’s wildlife. Expect to catch a glimpse of mountain goats, marmots, and more. This is the trail for the animal lovers.
With this handful of suggestions, we’ve only scratched the surface of what this national park offers. Although containing a single mountain as its star attraction, the park offers much more besides.