Mount Rainier National Park is a massive playground to anyone who loves the outdoors. The park encompasses Washington’s highest peak, at 14,411 feet high, and the surrounding mountains, forest, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and meadows.
Across the park, miles of trails provide scenic hiking routes and four campgrounds offer sites for tents and RVs. Narrow roads wind through lush evergreen trees and wildlife like elk and deer can occasionally be spotted.
The park is divided by five areas: Paradise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon/Mowich. Some of the areas are more developed than others – ranging from ones with just campgrounds to others with hotels and restaurants.
Summer is the best time to see the park’s renowned wildflowers. Splashes of pink, purple, and other colors spread across the meadows and along some of the trails.
Mount Rainier NP has trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
A variety of hiking trails wind through the forests and meadows surrounding glacier-capped Mount Rainier. Some trails are easy and can be done by most beginners and kids. Other treks are longer and require more experience in backpacking.
For an easygoing hike take the 1-and-a-half mile Grove of the Patriarchs Loop, which crosses over a suspension bridge through ancient trees, or the 3.2-mile Naches Peak Loop through open meadows teeming with wildflowers.
With so many rivers and streams, the park also has seemingly endless waterfalls.
At 69-feet high, Christine Falls is one of the park’s most photographed waterfalls thanks to its perfect framing from a concrete arch bridge. Myrtle Falls, which falls 72 feet, is another photogenic waterfall that has beautiful Rainier as a backdrop.
Another excellent way to see the park, especially if you aren’t much of a hiker, is by taking one of the driving tours.
The loops are relatively short and can all easily be done in one day. You can find the four road trips described in detail on the park’s official website here.
At 6,400 feet in elevation, Sunrise is the highest point in the park that you can drive. From the top, you can admire sweeping views of Rainier, as well as nearby mountains like Mount Adams.
You can also drive the Chinook Scenic Byway to see Rainier and Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, or take the White Pass Byway to Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and then east towards the drier landscape of eastern Washington.
Four campgrounds are located across the park, three of which can accommodate RVs up to various lengths.
There are no hookups at any of the campgrounds and the sites are mostly on a first-come, first-served basis. But, if you would rather have a spot guaranteed, you can make a reservation at the Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds on Recreation.gov.
A few other resorts and campgrounds are located on the outskirts of the park. Mounthaven Resort and Alder Lake Park both provide hookups and they’re just a short drive away. Other RV-friendly parks nearby include Maple Grove Resort and Shady Firs RV Park about a half-hour away in Randle.
Photos don’t do Mount Rainier’s sheer natural beauty any justice. For a better idea of the beautiful scenery you’ll see at this national park, check out this footage by Herbard’s Travels.
Have you been to Mount Rainier National Park? Where else would you recommend visiting? Let us know in the comments below.