Located in Washington state, Mount Rainier is known for its numerous trails. There are plenty of opportunities to explore in this region during the summer and winter.
The area is known for its beautiful wildflower fields. Mount Rainier is also known as Tahoma by natives in the area.
This national park is full of activities for everyone, and it’s a must-visit for anyone who enjoys hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest.
Aside from its beautiful mountain ranges, Mount Rainier has numerous lakes and waterfalls. This article highlights the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
Where Is Mount Rainier National Park?
Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park is located in northeast Lewis County and southeast Pierce County in Washington state.
It features a 14,410-foot stratovolcano and is the fourth national park in the US. Established on March 2, 1899, Mount Rainier was the fourth national park in the country.
The park is surrounded by snowfields and glaciers, with around 35 square miles of this region.
The largest glacier in the country in terms of area is Emmons Glacier, while Carbon Glacier is the largest in terms of volume.
Mount Rainier is a popular climbing destination for people, and around 10,000 climbers attempt to reach the mountain’s summit, with only 50% making it.
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Best Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park
Five different regions make up Mount Rainier National Park. They include Paradise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon River.
These are the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park;
1. Alta Vista Trail
One of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park is the Alta Vista Trail, located just south of the mountain. Like the other trails in this region, this one is shorter and has an up-and-back trail.
However, this trail starts very steeply as you near the mountain, and it’s a great alternative to the famous Skyline Trail.
The Alta Vista Trail is great for families who enjoy hiking and exploring Paradise Mt. Rainier. Although it’s a bit steep, it offers panoramic views and is suitable for everyone.
Just make sure to stop for refreshments along the way. It has a distance of 1.8 miles that you can complete in an hour and a half.
2. Skyline Loop Trail
The Skyline Trail is arguably the most popular hiking trail in Mount Rainier National Park. This is a reasonably challenging trail, but it takes you very close to the mountain.
One of the most popular features of this trail is the panoramic point which has a 360-degree view of Mount Washington and the Cascade Range.
This area also provides fantastic views of Mount Hood and Mt. Saint Helens. Unfortunately, it has an elevation gain of over 1700 ft with a difficulty rating of difficult.
The total distance is 5.5 miles, and takes close to six hours to complete.
3. Bench and Snow Lake Trail
The Snow Lake and Bench Trail in Mount Rainier is a fun and challenging hike that takes you through various areas.
It’s a great way to get a taste of the mountain and experience the different parts of the park.
The trail takes you past some of the park’s beautiful meadows and has a good portion of wooded areas. Once you reach Snow Lake, you can enjoy a picnic and watch the water.
Snow Lake is a tranquil place and an excellent choice for people looking for a relaxing experience. It has a distance of 2.5 miles and a difficulty rating of moderate.
4. Golden Gate Trail
The Golden Gate Trail is the same as the other trails in the park, such as the Alta Vista Trail and the Skyline Trail.
You can start your trip from the Jackson Visitor Centre by taking the trail to the right, past the Falls. It then zigzags up and toward Mount Rainier.
The trail features various natural features, such as beautiful meadows and babbling streams.
The water flowing through the trail is also exciting as it moves up. This area additionally has beautiful red-coloured foliage in the fall.
5. Mount Fremont Lookout Trail
The Mount Fremont Lookout Trail is relatively easy to navigate and has various views. It starts at the Sunrise parking lot and gradually climbs up.
There are also multiple viewpoints along the way. It’s a great way to get a taste of the mountain and experience the different parts of the park.
It’s a popular route in the Sunrise area. It is regarded by many as one of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
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6. Palisades Lakes Trail
Although it doesn’t have any views of Tahoma, it has five amazing lakes. The lakes include Sunrise Lake, Clover Lake, Hidden Lake, Dick Lake, and Upper Palisades Lake.
The Palisades Lakes Trail in Mount Rainier National Park is frequently visited by wildlife.
Various animals live in this area, such as bears, elks, and frogs. In the summer, the site will also be filled with beautiful flowers.
7. Grove of the Patriarchs
One of the easiest ways to get a taste of the mountain and experience the different parts of the park is by hiking the Grove of the Patriarchs.
It’s a beautiful area with massive trees that have been around for thousands of years.
The short walk to the Grove of the Patriarchs takes you through the woods, and it’s a great way to get a taste of the mountain and experience the different parts of the park.
8. Silver Forest Trail
One of the most underrated trails in the park is the Silver Forest Trail, which offers impressive views of Mount Rainier.
During the summer, this area will be filled with beautiful flowers. In the fall, the area will be filled with vibrant red-colored foliage.
This is one of the easiest and best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
9. Sunrise Nature Trail
The Sunrise Nature Trail is a fun and short hike that offers a variety of views. It’s a great way to take a break from the long hiking days. It’s also an excellent option if you’ve had a long day of walking.
If you’re an early riser, you can take the trail early and watch the sunrise from the parking lot. It’s a great way to break the long hiking days.
10. Box Canyon
The Box Canyon Trail is one of the most accessible hiking trails in the entire park.
It’s also fully accessible for everyone, including wheelchair users. The first part of the trail is a boardwalk, while the second part is a dirt path.
Numerous signs throughout the park tell the story of the area’s history, including the story of the Cowlitz Glacier.
Although the glacier’s size has diminished, it’s still in the park. This area used to be a glacier, and it carved various grooves in the rock.
11. Trail of the Shadows
The Trail of the Shadows is a fun and easy walk through the woods, and it features a variety of exciting attractions, such as an old cabin.
Hot springs are also featured on this trail. This is one of the easiest and best kid-friendly hikes in Mount Rainier National Park. It also has picnic tables and restrooms nearby.
12. Narada Falls
The Narada Falls trail is relatively short and sweet, making it a popular stop for hikers.
There are plenty of restrooms near this area, making it an ideal stop for those looking to take a break from hiking.
One of the largest waterfalls in the park is known as Narada Falls. It’s 168 feet tall and can be seen from a car.
13. Tipsoo Lake Trail
The path is almost entirely paved, making it an ideal choice for all skill levels. It is also perfect for people with mobility issues.
The paved trail leads through a pretty lake, and once you get around halfway through the lake, you’ll see Mount Rainier.
This trail has a distance of 0.8 miles with an elevation gain of 39 ft. It is a relatively easy trail to hike and one of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
14. Silver Falls Loop
One of the most secluded waterfalls in the park is the Silver Falls. This hike is also one of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
This waterfall hike is ideal for people looking for a lovely view. It would be best if you also packed nutritious snacks and lunch when embarking on this trail.
It’s also a great way to get active and socialize. It is a moderately easy hike trail with an elevation gain of 600 ft.
15. Comet Falls
The trail is very balanced, with plenty of sun and shade. However, it can be very steep to the falls.
This is an excellent option for people looking to embark on a challenging hike.
This trail makes our list of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park because of its unique nature.
It is a difficult trail with an elevation gain of more than 1,200 ft. It also has a distance of 3.8 miles.
16. Myrtle Falls
The paved path to the falls makes it an ideal choice for people looking to go with strollers and wheelchairs.
However, the main viewpoint of the falls requires a few steps. Before starting the trail, check the dirt overlook and stairs for accessibility.
This trail is very popular in Mount Rainier National Park. However, it gets busy during the day, so get there early to get great parking spots.
It is an easy trail with an elevation gain of 150 ft and a distance of just 0.8 miles.
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17. Naches Peak Loop
The Naches Peak Loop Trail is an excellent choice for people looking for a short hike with a gradual incline. It can be accessed from the east side of Mount Rainer.
One of the best views of Mount Rainer is from the lake’s viewpoint. This hike is ideal for people looking to get a great view of the park. The view from this area is breathtakingly beautiful.
18. Pinnacle Peak Trail
The views from this trail are incredible, and on a clear day, you’ll get to see Mount Adams, Louise Lake, and the Glacier.
It’s also ideal for people looking to take in some of Mount Rainer’s other attractions.
It is a trail with a moderate level of difficulty. It has an elevation gain of more than 1,400 ft and a distance of 2.8 miles.
19. Sourdough Ridge to Frozen Lake Trail
This easy hike is also an excellent choice for people looking to get a great view of Mount Rainer. The views from this area are incredible, as the trail is along a ridge.
This area is known for its abundance of wildlife, such as mountain goats. Keeping a respectful distance from these animals and other park animals is essential.
It is an easy trail and one of the best hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
20. Wonderland Trail
The Wonderland Trail is an excellent choice for people serious about hiking on Mount Rainer.
It offers various beautiful areas, including the tallest peaks and beautiful meadows.
This trail is for experienced hikers only. The entire 93-mile journey can take about five days and requires a lot of training.
This is a must-do if you’re serious about hiking on Mount Rainer. It is a challenging trail with a distance of more than 90 miles and an elevation gain of more than 46,000 ft.
21. Camp Muir via Skyline Trail
The best way to get to Camp Muir is by hiking the famous Skyline Trail. After reaching the top of the Skyline Trail, continue hiking up.
The first part of the trail is usually full of people, but after passing the iconic mountain, the trail begins to thin out.
The highest point in Mount Rainer is Camp Muir, and this trail is only for experienced hikers. It offers a beautiful view of Mount Rainer and various peaks.
Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park
The best time to visit Mount Rainer is during the summer when the park’s wildflower meadows are full of life. The warm weather and dry conditions also make for ideal hiking conditions.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Mount Rainier National Park?
It costs around $1,200 for a solo traveler for a week and approximately $2,200 for a couple. A private vehicle with a valid 7-day pass costs $30.
A motorcycle with a valid 7-day pass costs $25, and a bicycle with a valid 7-day pass costs $15 each.