Mt Rainier National Park 3-Day Tour Itinerary

Mt Rainier National Park - 3 Day Trip Itinerary

Mount Rainier National ParkMt Rainier national parkMt Rainier is the fifth national park in the United States and the highest volcano in the continent, with canyons, waterfalls, and glaciers.Mt Rainier is divided into five regions, and we visited Sunrise, Paradise, Longmire, and Oahanapecosh. The itinerary was three days, roughly as follows.

  • Day 1: Drive all the way to Mt Rainier National Park, walk the sunrise area trail all day, and spend the evening in theparadise innListen to the ranger program.
  • Day 2: Paradise area, mostly skyline trail during the day.
  • Day 3: In the morning, I finished the nisqually visa trail in Paradise area which I didn't finish the day before, then drove to see Ohanapecosh area, and finally went to Longmire area, walked the Comet Fall trail, and strolled around the Longmire museum.

We stayed at the Paradise Inn in the park this time, and our lodging and restaurant tips are documented atmy other post hereCenter.

I've been looking forward to Mt Rainier for a long time, I've been to a lot of famous national parks in the Midwest, but I've never had the chance to come to Mt Rainier before, mainly because of the high latitude, and it's only suitable for the summer vacation, and I've missed it in the past few years because of my work. This time, I finally had the chance to come to Mt Rainier, which is really very beautiful, and the scenery was already beautiful on the way up the mountain.

Sunrise Area

Sunrise is a popular attraction area in Mt Rainier, the closest being the northeast entrance to Mt Rainier. There are a number of trails from Sunrise, but they are only open in the summer, usually between July and October. The trails are very scenic, so don't miss them if you come during the opening hours. sunrise is a higher elevation area, so the trails are a little bit difficult to climb. We brought a set of trekking poles with us, so we took turns to use them, and I felt that having trekking poles was really helpful.

Sunrise visitor center

At the Sunrise visitor center, there is an observation deck at the back of the building with a telescope to see the summit and people walking on the ice.

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Sourdough ridge trail

The first hiking route of our trip was to take the Sourdough ridge trail to frozen lake, the whole way was full of mountain scenery, but this part of the trail was relatively easy and quite flat. It's August, but at this time of the year, spring seems to have just begun in the highlands. Wildflowers are starting to bloom, but they are not yet in full bloom in the mountains and valleys.

Frozen lake, the mid-point station, is not frozen now, you can still see snow on the lake.

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From Frozen lake upwards, it started to become a steeper slope, our goal was to climb all the way up to Mt. Fremont Lookout, which is 1.3 miles, not too long, but the slope started to feel the necessity of trekking poles. Many people started to stop and go, but the good thing about this section is that we can stop anytime to see the beautiful Mt.

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The hut in front of you is the lookout, take a rest after climbing up, sit down and have some dry food while enjoying the surrounding mountains.

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Wonderland trails

From Mt. Fremont lookout, we turned back to Frozen lake, originally we planned to climb Burrough mountains again, but at this time, the clouds started to come up, the direction was unfavorable, so we changed to take the Wonderland trails to turn back, Wonderland trails is a very beautiful trail, the terrain is relatively flat, wild flowers and many butterflies. The terrain is relatively flat, and the wildflowers and butterflies are in full bloom, so I felt like I was really walking in Wonderland. Because of the beauty of the trail itself, we went around a long fork in the road and passed by whiteriver campground, which was a very nice environment.

Reflection lakes

There is another Lakes trail near the Visitor Center that leads to the Reflection Lakes, and even though there are no reflections during this time of the afternoon, just looking at the forests, snow-capped mountains, and the lake is a satisfying experience. If you don't want to walk, you can drive for 5 minutes to the parking lot of Reflection Lakes.

Paradise Area

Paradise Area is the most popular area in Mt. Rainier, there is Paradise Inn in the area of Paradise Area, which is the best located hotel in the park, next to the hotel is not far from the visitor center, the entrance of the famous Skyline Loop Trail is also next to it, the location is convenient, the view is beautiful, no wonder it is called Paradise. The location is convenient, the view is beautiful, no wonder it is called Paradise. due to the crowd, it is not easy to park in the neighborhood, so if you are not staying here, please make sure to leave early.

Paradise visitor center

The visitor center is huge and worth a visit, and it has an interesting history. Before the spire we see now, it was an ornate building with a dome roof designed by the architects. The dome looks great, but it has a fatal flaw: it snows. Because Mt Rainier's winters are so cold and snowy that the roof would be crushed, the roof was heated to compensate for this defect. After a few years of using this dome-shaped visitor center, it was found that it would be better to tear it down and rebuild it because it would cost several million dollars a year on fuel, so the park finally decided to cut the Gordian knot and tear it down and rebuild it with the simple steeple shape that we see now.

Skyline trail

Skyline trail is a must-see hiking trail for visitors to Mt. Rainier. The Paradise area is the most popular area in Mt. Rainier, and Skyline trail is the most popular one. If you want to come to the Skyline trail, it is best to climb to the top before noon, as there are fewer people and the weather is better. In the afternoon, the weather will be affected by the high mountains. On the second day of our trip, after breakfast, the first thing we did was to go to the skyline trail.

The entrance to the Skyline Trail is right next to the paradise visitor center. The weather was perfect in the morning, and the wildflowers were blooming, making it the prettiest of the Mt. Rainier trails.

The wildlife is quite active in the summer. On the way up the mountain, I saw a bear and a groundhog looking for something to eat.

Nisqually Glacier

Most of the way up will be looking at the Nisqually Glacier. There is a section in the middle of the trail that is closer to the glacier. Although it looks like there is no snow on the mountain in summer, the gray gravel part that you can see is full of ice. In summer, there is no more melting snow on the trail, so I felt hot while walking, but once I reached the glacier, it was like standing in front of a refrigerator with a cool breeze blowing.

Panorama point

After climbing up to the top, you must take a rest at Panorama point, the panoramic view from Panorama point is amazing. The white mountain behind the center is St Helen, the U-shaped valley formed by the glacier is quite spectacular.

High skyline trail

Skyline trail is a 5.5 miles loop on the map. Originally, we were supposed to start at Panorama point and head back, but a section of the trail was still covered by ice melt and closed, so we had to go around the High skyline trail in a big circle, which made the whole trail 7 miles, and the road was steep, with the highest point at 1500 ft. Though it was a bit tiring, we were surprised to find that the scenery along the way was worth it, and if you are still physically fit, it is recommended to go on it. If you are still physically fit, we recommend you to go around the trail. Especially the wildflowers were in full bloom, we were so busy taking photos that we forgot about our fatigue. We really realized why the slogan of Mt Rainier is "where glaciers meet flowers".

Near the bottom of the mountain, there are several small waterfalls to see.

Nisqually Vista Trail

Next to the visitor center's lower parking lot, there is a smaller loop trail called Nisqually vista trail, which is only 1.2 miles long, much easier than the 7 miles skyline trail. This trail is very nice, you can also see the glacier, it is very quiet in the morning, no one is around and you can still hear the sound of the glacier. This trail should follow the instruction to walk along the counterclockwise direction, the view will be more and more beautiful. By the time we came back, the clouds were clearing, and the wildflowers along the trail were so beautiful that it made me feel especially happy.

Halfway along the trail, I encountered a small deer foraging for food.

Ohanapecosh Area

The Ohanapecosh area is a relatively less visited area in Mt Rainier, but if you like to hike, there are several trails in Mt Rainier Ohanapecosh area, and if you don't want to walk so much, you can't miss the Mirror lake at least.

Inspiration point

On the way from Paradise area to Ohanapecosh area, you will definitely pass by Inspiration point, almost every national park in the US has a place called Inspiration point, and the view is usually great, Mt Rainier's Inspiration point is very beautiful. The Inspiration point in Mt Rainier is beautiful and conveniently located on the way to the park, no need to climb up the mountain to get there.

Mirror lake

The most important attraction in Ohanapecosh area is Mirror lake, no need to climb the mountain, this lake is like a mirror when the light is good, reflecting the reflection of the mountain, but you have to pick the right time to come. We came here once in the morning, but it was too foggy in the morning, so we couldn't see it clearly. When we came back after ten o'clock, the fog lifted and we could see the mountains on the other side of the lake. Although we could still see the clouds on the other side of the lake, the mountain was still visible, and we could see the reflection in the lake.

Narada falls

In fact, there are several trails in Ohanapecosh, one of them is to see Narada falls, although not as famous as Parardise and Sunrise, in fact, there are waterfalls and rivers in the scenery is also very beautiful, walking or quite comfortable. Along the way, you can see the traces left by the glacier. A few decades ago, you can still see the whole glacier here, but now the glacier has receded, and all you can see is the U-shaped valley.

Longmire area

Longmire Area has a museum, and if you have the stamina, it is recommended to climb the Comet falls trail.

Comet falls trail

Comet falls trail is a bit more difficult, the length is 5.4 miles, the slope is considered very steep, the reason why I will come because the day before listening to the ranger recommended, if the time is enough is indeed quite worth coming, but according to personal physical considerations. On the third day of our trip, the most important exercise for the whole day is here. The big waterfall is at 2200ft high, and there are three smaller waterfalls to climb up.

After crossing this wooden bridge in the middle of the day, you are almost at your destination.

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Further on was the hardest part of the trail, but soon we saw the long comet falls, and when we got closer, we realized that it was very cold, and we were already drenched with water even when we were standing far away from the waterfalls. This is not the end of the trail, Ranger said that if we go further up, we will come to a grassland, and there will be many animals in the evening. However, it was still early in the evening when we came here, so we just turned back.

Longmire museum

The Longmire museum is the oldest building in the park and contains displays that tell the story of early explorers and local wildlife. It is the Douglas fir tree trunk at the entrance that attracts the most visitors. The sign in the center says the tree was planted in 1293.

The museum itself is small, but there are some stores and restaurants in the surrounding area, as well as a hotel and administration building in the park.

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Further reading

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