How To Get To Mount Rainier National Park
There are four main entrances accessible by vehicle that you can use to enter Mount Rainier National Park. There are multiple major cities located within 200 miles of Mount Rainier National Park. You can use multiple ways to get to Mount Rainier National Park. If you want to use the Southwest Entrance by car, here are the directions:
East Entrance by car From Seattle: drive South on I-5 to I-405 at Exit 154a. from there drive East on I-405 to SR 167 and then take South to SR410 where you will find White River Entrance. From there you can continue South on SR 410 to SR 123 past Stevens Canyon Road to Ohanapecosh. From Tacoma: drive east on SR 512 to SR 167 and turn north to SR 410 and then head east while on SR 410 to the White River Entrance and Sunrise.
From Seattle: Drive South on I-5 to SR 512 and exit at 127. From SR 512 drive East to SR 7 and then drive South on SR 7 to SR 706 in Elbe. From here drive East on SR 706 through Ashford where you will find the Nisqually Entrance. From Tacoma: Drive East on SR 512 to Sr 7 and then turn South from SR 7 to SR 706 in Elbe. Once you are in SR 706, drive East through Ashford where you will find Nisqually Entrance.
From Yakima: in Summer Drive West on US 12 to SR 123 and then turn North while on SR 123 to the Stevens Canyon Entrance. In Winter Drive on US 12 to SR 7in Morton. While still on SR 7, drive North to Elbe. From there drive East on SR 706 through Ashford where the Nisqually Entrance is located.
Mount Rainier National Park Must
The major must-see destination in Mount Rainier National Park is obvious â itâs the mountain itself.
But, in addition to Mount Rainier, there are a variety of other beautiful outdoor areas that all visitors should attempt to visit, including old growth forests, waterfalls, wildflower meadows, and more.
Here are the top must-see destinations in Mount RainierNational Park.
Boondockers Choices For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking 10 Miles: Mt Rainier National Forest Road
Address Elevation: 2064â²
Management â Public â Forest Service
Mt Rainier national forest road is open spring-fall. You may stay 14 days at Mt Rainier national forest road. Multiple campsites along the north side of the road. Some have improvised fire rings. We were directed to this place by a ranger in Mount Rainier National Park. CLOSED DURING WINTER Plenty of dispersed camping spots along skate road before this one, only go to these coordinates if youâre in a car with normal clearance, donât attempt on an RV. Great private spot along the river though and about 25 minutes to Mount Rainier national park! I went into the National Park each day I was here â drive in early unless you want to spend an hour in traffic!
Management â Public â Forest Service
The road in is Gravel. The maximum RV length at Carbon River is 30â². This is one of our favorite dispersed camping places, as it is pretty close to home. Campsites are outside the ranger station. If you want a good site you have to come early in the day, early in the weekend. The view is beautiful and this is a good place if you donât want to have to worry about being too loud. It is right on the Carbon River so it may be flooded some times of the year. There are hiking trails nearby and a lake up the road a bit.
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Is Mt Rainier National Park Crowded
In the summer months, yes. Both the website and people we talked to say it can take hours waiting at the entrance in the summer. So if you are visiting in the summer, plan ahead, leave early, and know that parking lots may be full!
We visited in October, in which my answer is no! It was not crowded at all. We never waited even 30 seconds at an entrance, never had trouble parking, and rarely ran into more than a few people on trails.
Finding Accommodations Near Mount Rainier
If camping isnt your thing, there are quite a few options for hotels and lodges in Ashford, which is minutes from the southwest entrance to Mount Rainier National Park or splurge and stay at Paradise Inn at the heart of the national park.
Seattle is also only a two hour drive away and Tacoma only a an hour and a half away where there are plenty of great options. Click here to see our blog on Lodging Options Near Mount Rainier .
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Hiking & Backpacking In Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is home to some of the absolutebest hiking in Washington.
Trails range from just one mile to multi-night backpackingtrips. You can find hikes for all skill levels, ranging from family friendly toseriously strenuous. WashingtonTrail Association is an excellent resource for finding hikesin Mount Rainier and the rest of Washington State.
Here are some of the best Mount Rainier hikes for all skilllevels.
How Is The Weather In Mt Rainier National Park
I mentioned we visited in October. And it wasnt crowded. Now we know why it was quite rainy. It didnt rain 24/7 and we definitely had some patches of sunshine. But it was at least overcast for the majority of the time.
Summer will bring more sunshine with July and August being the sunniest. But the weather changes rapidly and often. It is highly recommended to bring a rain coat to stay dry and warm. If youre traveling to Mt Rainier National Park with kids, take into account if they will do well in chilly temps and rainor not.
Also Check: Year Round Camping Washington State
Mount Rainier National Park Layout
Mount Rainier National Park has a fairly straightforwardlayout.
To see the entirety of the park, you must make sizable detoursoutside of the park to connect all of the roadways together.
Fortunately, only a small sliver in the northwest corner ofthe park near the Carbon River is separate from the rest of Mount Rainierâsroads.
The rest of the park, including the southwestern, southeastern, and northeastern sections, can be seen on a sort of half loop that attaches popular areas such as Longmire, Paradise, and Sunrise together.
This section of the park is far more frequently visited thanthe northwest corner. Itâs also home to the best camping in Mount RainierNational Park.
Visit these areas by entering Mount Rainier through the southwestNisqually Entrance on SR 706, the southeastStevens Canyon Entrance on US Highway 12 , orthe northeastWhite River/Sunrise Entrance just off SR 410 .
The southeast Nisqually Entrance is the only Mount Rainier National Park entrance thatâs open year-round. Itâs easily accessible from major nearby cities including Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and Yakima.
The least popular entrance, the northwestCarbon River Entrance, is accessed via SR 165 through the town ofWilkeson.
Take In Spectacular Views On Our Inaugural Hike To Eagle Peak
We meet our guides and fellow travelers at our host hotel near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport at 7am. After a brief orientation we load up for the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Eagle Peak Trailhead at Longmirethe gateway to Mount Rainier. This moderately steep, seven-mile out-and-back trail offers a quintessential Mount Rainier National Park hiking experience. Starting under a verdant canopy of old-growth forest, we then pop out into high alpine meadows that offer out-of-this-world views of Mount Rainier and Tahoma. On a clear day, the expansive views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood and Mount Adams take ones breath away. Back at the trailhead, its just a short drive to our national park campground, where we work together to set up a cozy group site. All meals included.
Hiking: 7.2 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,910 / -2,910 Van transfer 23 hours
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Packwood Rv Park & Campground
RV campers rejoice â Packwood RV Park & Campground is anexcellent place for RV camping near Mount Rainier National Park.
In addition to 87 RV campsites, there is a large grassy areafor tent camping. The campground is located in a heavily wooded area justminutes from Packwood. This RV Park boasts full RV hookups, free Wi-Fi, and a laundryarea. Many campsites are spacious enough to accommodate the largest RVs andtrailers.
Looking to purchase an RV? Check out our RV Buyers Guide.
Boondockers Choices For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking 21 Miles: Bumping River Road
Address Elevation: 3570â²
Management â The road in is Gravel.
Thereâs numerous free national forest dispersed camping sites along Bumping River Road . Some are on the way down to Bumping lake, and some are just past of the lake. Most of them are right off the road, but the ones past Bumping Lake are off a gravel road. No services or potable water but there are established fire rings and most are right by the river.
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Nearby Hotels Cabins Airbnbs
There are a wide variety of hotels, cabins, and guest housesnear Mount Rainier.
Airbnbis another option for finding guesthouses, cabins, and other lodging near MountRainier.
Mt Rainier National Park Accommodations
Outside the park is the Gateway Inn. You could literally throw a rock from the hotel and it would land at the entrance sign, its that close. They have cute little cabins and even a little store on site.
If these hotels arent what youre looking for , try for a nearby rental. We stayed in a rental that was about .5 miles from the entrance and it was awesome! Our rental we stayed at isnt available anymore, but the cabins/cottages in this area we stayedare so close and convenient to the park, and all have a beautiful setting. Sometimes its nice to have a rental property when you travel with kids. They often offer much more space as well as kitchens to help with food.
Looking for more exploring in Washington? Check out
Now for Things to do with Kids in Mount Rainier National Park :
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Narada Falls Easy Waterfall Hike With Kids
Distance: .3 miles roundtrip
You can see Narada Falls 3 different ways. From Stevens Canyon Road, just west of Reflection Lake, there is a pull off area where you can head all the way to the right of the lot and see Narada Falls down below.
You can also drive down to where Narada Falls is and pull into the parking lot there. You can get out and see the viewpoint which puts you right in between the top and bottom sections of the falls. Youre very close, but you cant really see the bottom falls from here.
I suggest taking the short hike from this lower parking lot. Its not long, though it is a little steep. This short hike takes you to a beautiful viewpoint to see the falls from the bottom. Its totally doable with kids and theyll love the quick hike!
Map Of Snowshoe Trails
The map of the snowshoe trails is located above and through this link. I like this map because it also shows the avalanche danger zones. When hiking in the winter at Mt. Rainier National Park, I avoid these areas.
When you get to the park, I recommend talking to a ranger and asking them the safest routes to go. We did this when we snowshoed Mazama Ridge, and the ranger even gave us a very detailed map of the trail .
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Mt Rainier Camping And Hiking Guide
by Diana Chen | Jul 24, 2019
This post may contain affiliate links, which help us generate revenue so that we can keep producing awesome content for you. We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for using our links and giving us the opportunity to share a sliver of this great big world with you.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Go RVing. All opinions are 100% mine.
Taking an RV trip was something I had always talked about doing, but never actually took steps to do it. That is until I attended the RVX trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah a few months ago. I was surprised to learn about the many different types of RVs and how RVing can fit into any lifestyle. Attending RVX inspired me to finally take my first RV trip this summer to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Here is my Mt. Rainier camping and hiking guide for 3-4 days in the park, and why why an RV is the best companion for Go RVings Kickoff to Camping Season.
Lets Take A Look Around The Campground
We had the chance to walk around a bit before the campground filled up for the weekend. Look how secluded that tent camping spot is!
The bathrooms are super well maintained, including the showers. And look at the above pic, theres a sink for tent campers to do dishes inwow!
We did a bit of exploring beyond the camping sites themselves and quickly ran into this beautiful creek snaking its way through the campground perimeter. I love these little creeks!
We crossed a bridge over the creek and entered an expansive well maintained grass field play area.
Since there was nobody else there, we decided to give our dog some off leash time. He decided to go nuts, zooming back and forth until he tired himself out.
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Circle Mount Rainier National Park Loop
If you have the time, there are few better ways to see MountRainier than to circlethe entire mountain.
Although many visitors simply see the southwestern region ofthe park, itâs more than worth it to continue the drive to the southeast beforeheading up to the northeast.
Here is where it gets tricky. To see the entire nationalpark, you must then leave the park before entering it again to see thenorthwest corner. Many visitors camp at all three Mount Rainier National Parkcampgrounds during their trip.
Research the mostpopular Mount Rainier driving tours to decide on the scenic loopthat best suits your preferences.
National Forest Campgrounds Near Mount Rainer Np
If you cant get campsites inside Mount Rainier NP, there are great campgrounds just minutes from Mount Rainiers 3 entrances of Nisqually, Stevens Canyon, and White River.
Note that it is over a half hour drive from Nisqually to Paradise, another half hour to Stevens Canyon entrance/Ohanapecosh, and at least another half hour to Sunrise. If you want to visit Mowich Lake or the Carbon River area, its a two hour drive from both the Nisqually and from White River entrances.
All of these National Forest campgrounds run $18-20 per night and most are open mid May to late September. You can reserve sites on recreation.gov on a rolling basis up to 6 months in advance.
Max RV Length: RVs up to 60 ft # of sites: 26
Big Creek Campground is located on the west end of Skate Creek Road and has 29 sites surrounded by lush forest with some sites overlooking the creek.
The campground has picnic tables, pit toilets, and drinking water all at an affordable $18 per night. Its open mid-May to mid-September. If you cant reserve a site at Cougar Rock it might be good idea to reserve one here instead.
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Grove Of The Patriarchs
Check out the Grove of the Patriarchs if you are looking for a mellow nature walk. This 1.3 mile hike offers a close-up look at the old grove forest of 300-foot Douglas fir trees.
The hike is relatively flat and only has a 100-foot elevation gain. The path meanders along the Ohanapecosh River and has great lighting in the morning.
This is close to the Ohanapecosh Campground, so if you are staying there, stop by on your way out or back to camp one day.
Alpine Camping For Climbers
The vast majority of those climbing Mount Rainier stay a night or more in the backcountry. Like all wilderness camping areas, the base camps at Camp Muir and Camp Schurman require a wilderness permit to limit the number of climbers. Many first-time climbers take a guided climb to minimize the logistics as well as to ensure safety and success.
Learn more about alpinecamping while climbing Mount Rainier.
Enjoy An Unearthly Glacial Landscape While Summiting Burroughs Mountain
Today we set our sights on the Sunrise area of the park. At an elevation of 6,400, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle in Mount Rainier National Park. Known for its vibrant wildflower meadows and 360-degree views, Sunrise is a favored destination for both locals and park visitors. Our mission is the top of Burroughs Mountain. This tundra-like alpine mountain offers dramatic, unobstructed views of Mt. Rainier. The nine-mile out-and-back hike provides abundant opportunities to see the wildflowers and wildlife for which the park is renowned. All meals included.
Hiking: 9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,500′ / -2,500′ Van transfer: 4 hours