Locals call it The Mountain—and once you see it, you’ll understand why. Mt. Rainier’s enormous, glacier-topped summit lords so far above every other peak within sight of Seattle, it’s clear the 14,410-footer owns the title.

Hikers with Mt Rainier reflection on water

Hikers with Mt Rainier reflection on water

The mountain itself, an active volcano so large it makes its own weather, is the obvious star of Mt. Rainier National Park: People come from all over the world to gaze at it from high-altitude meadows, and climbing it is a coveted prize for both experienced and rookie mountaineers. But the park also encompasses gushing waterfalls, beautiful rivers, old-growth forests, and wildflower-spotted alpine zones, making it a must-see destination for any Washington traveler. Visitors enjoy hiking, wildlife-watching, fishing, camping, biking, skiing, sledding, and mountaineering at Mt. Rainier.

Mt Rainier At a Glance

Size: 236,381 acres
Driving distance from Seattle: 1.5-2 hours
Campgrounds: 3
Average snowfall (at Paradise): 630”
Major glaciers: 25
Annual visitors: 1,875,651 (2014)

Paradise Region in Mt Rainier

Paradise Falls at Mount Rainier National Park

Paradise Falls at Mount Rainier National Park

This 5,400-foot subalpine zone, located 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually Entrance, sits directly under the dramatic summit of Mt. Rainier and draws travelers for both its wildflower-choked meadows and views in summer and its abundant snowfall in winter. A visitor center houses a gift shop, snack bar, exhibits, and the park movie.

Sunrise Region in Mt Rainier

Open in summer only, 6,400-foot Sunrise is the highest drive-up destination in the park and offers amazing views of Mt. Rainier and the Emmons Glacier and the surrounding mountains. It’s located 60 miles from the Nisqually Entrance. Up top, you’ll find flower-filled meadows, a day lodge with a gift shop and food, and a visitor center with exhibits and a bookstore. Stunning hiking trails depart from Sunrise into the high elevations.

Need a map of Mount Rainier National Park? Buy the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map Pack for Washington National Parks including Olympic, Mount Rainier and North Cascades. The map includes clearly marked trails and points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches, picnic sites, ranger stations and more printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material. Or, download a Mt Rainier Park Map PDF.


Wildflower explosion at Mt. Rainier National Park

Tacoma to Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Parks Road Trip

Visit two of Washington state’s premier national parks on this scenery-packed trip

Map of Mt Rainier National Park

Download the Official Mt. Rainier National Park Map PDF

Use this map to get your bearings on the main national park entrances, park roads, lakes and hiking trailheads.

Olympic Coast Sea Stacks. Photo by Justin Bailie

10 Best Things to Do on an Olympic National Park Vacation

Olympic National Park and the surrounding areas are a Things to Do Mecca! You’ll be hard-pressed to fit it all in a single vacation.

Diablo Lake, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park in Washington

The park has a northern and a southern district or unit, separated by Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Go for a wilderness hike or boat on Diablo Lake.

Kayaking on lake in Olympic National Park.

A Perfect Day in Olympic National Park

Got 24 hours? Get the most out of them with this guide.

Kayaking on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

Things to Do in the Water at Olympic National Park

With crystal-clear lakes, cobalt rivers, and the Pacific Ocean all within a few miles of each other, Olympic NP offers plenty of opportunities for water fun.

Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park Ecosystem Zones

Olympic National Park contains four distinct and remarkable ecosystems—and even better, it’s possible to see all four in one day.

Mountain Lion. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Mountain Lions in Olympic National Park

Count yourself very lucky if you spot one of these elusive big cats—shy and wide-ranging, the park’s mountain lions are rarely seen.

Roosevelt elk in Olympic National Park

Roosevelt Elk in Olympic National Park

The largest wild herd of Roosevelt elk in the Pacific Northwest lives in Olympic, so your chances of spotting one are good.