The Complete Guide To Camping In Mount Rainier National Park
It`s hard to beat camping in Mount Rainier National Park.
Over 2 million visitors flock to the park each year to marvel at the splendor of the 14,411 foot tall titular mountain, bask in the brilliantly colored wildflower meadows, and explore the seemingly endless expanse of old growth forest.
Five developed areas, including three car campgrounds and two historic inns, serve as a jumping off point to explore the vast network of Mount Rainier hiking trails as well as the rest of the national park.
But don`t let these developed areas fool you several MountRainier campgrounds and campsites are located in backcountry areas for thosethat prefer a more remote, private camping experience.
Here is our ultimate visitors guide to help you plan yourMount Rainier National Park camping trip.
The Best Dispersed Camping Near Mt Rainier
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The iconic Mt. Rainier rises 14,417 above sea-level and punctuates Washingtons beautiful Cascade Range. Located in the National Park of the same name, Mt. Rainier offers tons of opportunities for hiking, climbing, camping and more. While the national park does have several campgrounds, we find that often times the best way to experience the area is to plan on dispersed camping near Mt. Rainier.
To make your trip planning a bit easier, weve compiled this handy guide of the best Mt. Rainier dispersed camping.
Washington Boondocking Choices For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking Bumping River Road
Management: Forest Service
Thereâs numerous free national forest campsites 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.
A great place to camp but starting to get overcrowded. Beautiful river and local scenery. The lake and its surroundings is just as beautiful. NOTE: As of 2020, the U.S. Forest Service is threatening to shut down the free camping at sites along the river. Campers have been leaving garbage, toilet paper and feces in the sites. The messes are left near the river, too. Thereâs fishing in the river and in the lake.
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Best Camping Near Mount Rainier
- Mowich Lake Campground: 21 tent/walk-in sites, no reservations.
- Ipsut Creek Campground: 31 car/tent sites, no reservations, CURRENTLY CLOSED TO VEHICLES.
- White River Campground: 108 car/tent sites, no reservations.
- Cougar Rock Campground: 186 car/tent sites, 5 group sites, reservations allowed.
- Ohanapecosh Campground: 185 car/tent sites, 2 group sites, 8 walk-in sites, reservations allowed.
- Sunrise Camp: 7 tent/walk-in sites 1.3 miles by trail west of the Sunrise Visitor Center in the heart of Yakima Park.
Note that only Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds permit RVs and trailers, but neither provide electrical, water, or sewer hook-ups. Dump stations are provided at both, however.
If you’re finding it difficult to secure a reservation within the national park, there are a number of great overflow campgrounds just outside of the park boundary:
There are, of course, a number of backcountry sites throughout the park for those looking for a different type of adventure. Backcountry Camping Permits are required and should be reserved and purchased well in advance of your trip. However, 30% of all campsite permits are kept aside for same-day purchase. No matter where you camp, always remember to leave the area better than you found it .
Once you have your camp spot, it’s time to adventure! To get you started, here’s our list of our favorite day hikes on Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier And Mount Saint Helens
Roughly three hours of driving separates Mount Rainier andMount Saint Helens, making them the perfect destinations for your familycamping road trip.
Start in Mount Rainier by camping a night or two and exploring the park. Next make the drive to Mount Saint Helens and camp fora night or two at one of the best Mount Saint Helens campgrounds.
Those that prefer a more luxurious camping experience mightprefer to stay at the Longview North/Mount SaintHelens KOA.
Many visitors continue their road trip down to the ColumbiaRiver Gorge. This area has some of the most beautiful river sceneryin Washington as well as excellent camping and hiking opportunities. It`s alsoa good chance to hop over into Oregon to explore Washington`s southernneighbor.
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Other Things To Do Near Mount Rainier National Park
Don`t forget to explore the surrounding area while campingin Mount Rainier National Park.
Washington State is filled with a huge variety of beautifulnatural areas as well as its fair share of interesting towns and cities. Manyof these nearby areas of interest can be connected into a larger familycamping road trip.
Here are some nearby attractions to visit on your MountRainier camping trip.
Narada Falls Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking
Narada Falls is a 0.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Paradise Inn, Washington that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and running and is best used from July until October. Absolutely beautiful waterfall. Itâs a short walk downhill from the parking lot, which means it is uphill on the way back. Mount Rainier National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle or per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass.
Absolutely beautiful waterfall. Itâs a short walk downhill from the parking lot, which means it is uphill on the way back. You can view the falls from the upper pullout if you arenât able to do the trail.
Paradise is one mile northeast of the trailhead. This is the largest waterfall viewable by car in the park at 150 feet. Architecture in the park such as the bridge was designed in the 1900s. For a longer trip, you can connect to the Wonderland Trail to the south.
Length: 0.3 mi
Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Running, Forest, River, Views, Waterfall, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs
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Washington Boondocking Choices For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking Summit Creek
AddressNational Forest Development Road 4510Randle, WashingtonElevation: 2352â²
Management: Forest Service
Summit Creek is open year round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. You may stay 14 days at Summit Creek .
The forest service has removed all facilities and closed the road. Hike-In. Enjoy what theyâve left behind! Summit Creek Campground is a small, rustic site located on a small flat between Summit Creek and Forest Road 4510 in a mid-elevation stand of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar.
Entering Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park Vehicle Fee: $30.0
Use for seven days
Mount Rainier National Park Annual Pass: $55.0
Mount Rainier National Park Campsite Fee: $20.0
Visiting Mount Rainier National Park by RV is a unique experience. Youll have all the modern amenities that you would have at home with incredible views outside your windows. There are lots of great campgrounds in and around the national park to park your rig and hit the trails.
At RVshare, our mission is getting you outdoors, spending time with your loved ones, and seeing all the natural beauty of our great country. RVing is a great way to have a truly experience that gives you a front row seat to your beautiful destination. Whether you visit Mount Rainier National Park in an RV rental from us, or simply drive in and tent camp, wed love to hear all about your trip! Send us photos at , tag us on social media, share amazing details, and anything else you want others to know about your experience for a chance to be featured on our blog or social media channels.
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Grove Of The Patriarchs Nature Trail Boondockers Choices
Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Paradise Inn, Washington that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is best used from May until September. Mount Rainier National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle or per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass.
SEASONAL CLOSURE: This area is subject to seasonal closure due to weather conditions.
The Grove of the Patriarchs is a 1.1-mile round-trip, self-guided nature trail through a wonderland of old growth trees and a bustling forest floor! Wander through trails, boardwalks, bridges, and dirt paths while winding through centuries old trees. The Patriarchs, Douglas Firs, and the Big Cedar stunning examples of healthy tree found in this area. Isolated on the island, these giants have been protected from fire, allowing them to grow to enormous size. You have many trees that are more than 25 ft in circumference, at least one approaching 50 ft, and some over 1,000 years old.
In late summer and early fall, there are plenty of mushrooms, with coral tooth fungus, boletes, jellies, and many more in the area. The easy nature trail through 1000 year old huge old growth Cedar, and Douglas fir trees at Mt. Rainier National Park.
Length: 1.1 mi
Skate Creek Dispersed Camping
Distance to Mt. Rainier: 15 miles from Nisqually EntranceRestrooms: NoMap
Skate Creek Road continues where Forest Road 52 leaves off and gives a few more options for those seeking a more remote dispersed camping option. To get here, youll head along Forest Road 52 until it turns south and meets FR 5270. There are several campsites here, and for those with 4WD you can head up 5270 to find additional sites.
The crowds are definitely thinner here when compared to FR52, but youll also be a bit further from the national park.
As with the other dispersed camping options in this guide there are no services in the area so be prepared to be self sufficient. That is doubly true if youre planning on heading up FR5270, as youll be getting more remote than Skate Creek Road.
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Cougar Rock Group Campground
Cougar Rock Group Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is conveniently located near Paradise. Group campsite reservations can be made on this page. Individual campsites are reservable via Cougar Rock Campground.
Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a lodge and visitor center, many miles of hiking trails and a commanding view of the mountain. The main attraction at Mount Rainier National Park is the mountain itself, a glacier-clad volcano of immense proportions. At 14,411 feet, it dominates the skyline for hundreds of miles. Visitors travel through majestic old-growth forest, past tumbling waterfalls and historic buildings to reach sub-alpine meadows, where world-famous wildflower displays are seen through July and August. Popular activities in the park include sight-seeing, hiking, rock climbing and camping.The Cougar Rock area is located at an elevation of 3,180 feet. Summers are dry and cool with daytime temperatures in the 60 to 80-degree range. Weather throughout the park can be variable, so visitors should come prepared.
The group campground has five campsites and is located within the general Cougar Rock Campground. Sites are relatively rustic, but have drinking water, flush toilets and picnic tables. All group campsites must be reserved. Visitors must use extra caution with food storage, as foxes and other animals have been known to frequent the campground looking for food.
Washington Boondocking Favorite Locations For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking Nile Sno
AddressNational Forest Development Road 1611Naches, Washington
Free Dispersed camping.. First come â First Camped. Reservations not accepted.
This is a free dispersed camping site. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served. Nice place to stay for a day or 2. Many spots throughout 410 North into the forest. Close but not too close to a gas station and food joint. Was perfect for my trip from Boise to Seattle. I took 410 North through the forest to Seattle and this is a beautiful drive!
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Washington Boondocking Choices For Mount Rainier National Park Boondocking Mt Rainier National Forest Road
Management: Forest Service
Mt Rainier national forest road is open spring-fall. You may stay 14 days at Mt Rainier national forest road.
Amazing site! Beautiful mossy green scenery with easy access pullouts. We found our spot at around 5pm on a Tuesday and saw plenty of sites available. River for water access although we didnât use it. Felt very safe and had Verizon service. About an hour from Mt. Rainier which is where we spent the days. Totally worth the drive for the beautiful free site.
Camping In And Near Mount Rainier National Park
The weather in Washington doesnt always play fair when it comes to appeasing sightseers highest ambitions for visiting one of the most majestic volcanos in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Mount Rainier itself is said to make its own weather, and what may begin as a sapphire clear sky morning can easily evolve into enough cloud cover to completely obscure the always snow-capped mountain which serves as the centerpiece for an all-around astounding national park.
Which makes sightings of Rainier in full view all the more spectacular. RVers and touring motorists alike can be found pulled to the side of the road on Washington State Road 410, cameras in hand, waiting for the last few wisps of fluffy white to dissipate in hopes of that perfect shot of the grand old admirals glacial cap and silver rocky gown. On a truly clear day, one can see Rainiers fellow volcanosSt. Helens, Adams, Baker, and Hoodstanding tall in the distance, a host of mythical heroes along the Pacific Northwest skyline.
Beyond and below the mountain itself, some of the countrys largest trees, most elusive wildlife, and pristine lush serenity await you and your RV camping adventures. Luckily, there are a plethora of campgroundsfrom official sites in the National Park itself to private parks with full hookups just outside.
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Mt Rainier National Park Rv Camping
Recreation From the facility, experienced hikers and backpackers can access the well-known, strenuous and beautiful Wonderland Trail, which encircles the park for 93 miles. The campground is adjacent to the Nisqually River and is surrounded by thick forests. Cougar Rock is relatively rustic, but has drinking water, flush toilets and picnic tables at all campsites. Help the National Park Service keep wildlife wild!
Mount Rainier National Park Camping Itinerary
It takes roughly two hours to reach Mount Rainier NationalPark from Seattle.
This convenient location in Washington makes it a populardaytrip or overnight destination for Seattle locals, other Washingtoniansliving nearby, and visitors from out of state. It`s central location almostmakes it the perfect stop on your Washington State road trip.
Here are three popular road trip itineraries for camping inMount Rainier National Park.
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History Of Mount Rainier National Park
The earliest sign of human activity in Mount Rainier National Park dates from between 8000 BC to 4500 BC, when nomadic people traveled through the region hunting for food. There is no indication of settlements until the 1800s when five Native American tribes agreed to section off the area.
With a location within the Pacific Coasts Ring of Fire, this stratovolcano has had several eruptions since recordings of such began, the first being in 1820. Scientists actually consider it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, a Decade Volcano, meaning it has the greatest likelihood to cause extensive loss of life and property if it erupts.
Rainier is twice the size of Mount St. Helens, which is in the neighborhood. It has more ice on its slopes than any mountain in the lower 48, which, in an eruption would cause devastating mudslides. Since there are high populations living within 200 miles of the mountain, loss of life could be extremely high.
So in 1899, when President McKinley officially created Mount Rainier National Park, it not only preserved the land for generations to come but protected the land closest to this peak from urbanization, keeping communities far from this potentially explosive mountain.
Where To Hike On Mount Rainier
Above the trees and in the tundra, these ridges resemble a moonscape. Besides the First, Second, and Third Burroughs mountains, hikers can sometimes see avalanches on Rainiers flanks. The catcalls coming from the rocks? Theyre marmot whistles.7 Miles Sunrise
Image: Nicole June / Flickr CC
Grove of the Patriarchs
The granddaddy of interpretive trails is a gentle saunter through a patch of hemlocks, cedars, and Douglas firs as ancient as 1,000 years old. The old dudes are so bigsome are 50 feet in diameterand can be viewed from a boardwalk trail that starts just past a not-too-swingy suspension bridge.1.1 Miles Ohanapecosh
This 2,955-foot climb is more intimidating than the popular Pinnacle Peak, another snowy summit in the serrated Tatoosh Range south of Paradise. But the grade is moderate to this saddle, and it offers a dizzying overlook of the Nisqually Valley with in-your-face views of the mountain.7.2 Miles Longmire
Among the first trail loops to be snow-free each spring, this ridge offers the best seat in the house when the mountain is out. Switchback up to an overlook of Longmire, then look for a rocky clearing about a half mile laterits like a booster seat to a Rainier panorama.4.6 Miles Longmire
Skyline Trail/Panorama Point
Naches Peak Loop
Image: shutterstock by Dmitry Kovba
Silver Forest Trail
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