• outdoorfamfun

Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Mount Rainier stands as a majestic icon in the State of Washington that can be seen from many miles away. This unique National Park allows visitors to get up close to an active volcano and glaciers, as well as breathtaking hikes that include beautiful wildlife, waterfalls and wildflowers all around.


KID RATINGS

Fun: ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ (out of 5)

Difficulty: Very Easy Easy MODERATE Hard Very Hard

(various hikes range from very easy to very hard)

KEY FEATURES

Distance: Short to long, depending on what you are doing.

Elevation Gain: Flat to steep

Terrain: Dirt, rocks, bridges, glaciers, trails, waterfalls.

Time: A few hours to drive through to several days.

When to Go: Summer

COST

  • $30 entrance fee

  • Free if you have a 4th grader with you through the Every Kid Outdoors program.

  • Additional fee for camping

AMENITIES

  • Lodging: Camping or Lodges

  • General store

  • Snack bars

  • Two restaurants

  • Water and bathrooms at visitor’s centers and campgrounds

THINGS TO BRING

  • Camping supplies

  • Food/Snacks

  • Good hiking shoes

  • Hiking backpack

  • Water containers

  • Sunscreen

DETAILS

Mount Rainier National Park was our last stop on our two week road trip through Oregon and Washington. We spent just under 2 days in the park. It was definitely not enough time to see it in entirety, but we did get a good taste. My 4th grader had one goal at this park --- to touch a glacier --- which we did.


Mount Rainier hasn’t erupted since the 1800s, but it is still considered an active volcano. We enjoyed learning more about volcanos in the parks visitor’s centers and googling info on our drive. The views of Mount Rainier were stunning as you drive through the park.


We stayed two nights at Cougar Rock Campground and enjoyed the Junior Ranger park programs at the amphitheater nearby. I booked our site about 3 months ahead of time. There were still several sites available at that point.


For our one full day that we spent in the park we decided to go on the Mount Rainier Skyline Trail to get as near to the glacier as possible. The trailhead is located at the Henry M Jackson Visitor Center in Paradise area of the park.


The visitors center was large and had lots of interactive exhibits.


There are several trail options ranging from short to long from the Paradise area. The shorter hikes are paved and are great for strollers. There is also a short easy 1 mile round trip hike to the Myrtle Falls that the Skyline trail hooks into.


The skyline trail is a steep 6 mile loop trail that takes you to the base of Mount Rainier's Glacier's. It provides gorgeous views of the volcano, surrounding cascade mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, streams and meadows filled with wildflowers. This is one of the most scenic hikes I have been on. The pictures just don’t do it justice.





This is a hard hike for kids, but I was so proud of my little hikers for sticking it through. They were super motivated to be able to see a volcano up close and to touch a glacier.


There are over 260 miles of maintained trails within the park. Check out the park’s official trail page and a link to the more family friendly trails. Most trails can be shortened if desired.


There are many scenic viewpoints along the drive through the park. We entered the southwest entrance and exited on the southeast side. The southeast exit/entrance has a small visitor's center in the Ohanapecosh area. My girls were able to get their Junior Ranger badges here. We try to do this at every national park. The kids actually love it and it gives them something to do as we travel and see sites.

PROS & CONS

Pros

  • Beautiful scenery

  • Glaciers

  • Volcano

  • Hiking available for all skill levels

  • Opportunities for learning at Junior Ranger programs

Cons

  • Longer, harder hike to get up close to glaciers

DIRECTIONS

Mount Rainier National Park is located among the Cascade Mountain Range and is two hours south and slightly east of Seattle. It is two and a half hours northeast of Portland.

MAPS

Here is a map to the Mount Rainier Visitor Center in the south central area of the park. This is where the trailhead of the Skyline Trail is.


MORE INFO

Mount Rainier National Park official site.


OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES

Seattle (2 hours)

Mount St. Helens (2 hours)

Portland (2.5 hours)

Olympic National Park (3 hours)


#mountrainier #mountrainiernationalpark #hikingfamily #washingtonstate #hiking #hikingwithkids #outdoorfamfun #nationalparks #camping #campingwithkids #juniorranger

ABOUT ME

Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.

My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.

Join me and my family for "Adventures off the couch!" Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @outdoorfamfun.


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