Mount Rainier National Park

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Exploring the
Pacific Northwest

Popular Northwest destinations worth visiting.

By Katie Jordan

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park located 80 miles (128km) from Seattle, Washington and is a popular destination for sight seers, hikers, climbers and photographers.

Iconic Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet above sea level. Subalpine wildflower meadows surround the volcano and ancient forests ring the lower slopes. Whether you’re heading to Rainier for the day, overnight or an extended hiking trip, you’re bound to find new adventures. [TIP: To view this document in Read Mode, tap or click the View menu, then tap/click Read Mode.]

Take a Hike

Trails lead through peaceful old growth forest, colorful meadows (late summer) and river valleys. Check out the most popular day hikes at both Paradise side of Mt. Rainier and Longmire. [TIP: Click the table to display the Design and Layout Table Tools. Check out how easy it is to format a table.]


Description of Hike



Round Trip

Nisqually Vista Trail

Enjoy excellent views of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier.

West end of the lower parking lot.

1.2 miles,
loop trail

45 minutes

Bench & Snow Lakes

Enjoy two lakes along this trail. See bear grass & flowers.

Stevens Canyon Road,

2.5 miles roundtrip

2 hours

Twin Firs Loop Trail

This short loop trail passes through old growth forest

2 miles west of Longmire.

0.4 miles

20 minutes

Enjoy the Wildflowers

For a limited time each year, Yyou’ll be able to see impressive wildflowers in the meadows around Mt. Rainier. Depending on the weather, flowers typically bloom in late July and early August. In the higher elevation meadows look to see lupine (blue flowers in the photo), mountain aster, magenta paintbrush, columbine, monkey flower, fireweed, phlox, rosy spirea, black alpine sedge, and more. In the subalpine region of the park look for avalanche lilies, glacier lilies, buttercups in the early part of the season. Later in the summer you’ll find lupine, Indian paintbrush and Sitka Valerian. While hiking along the trails, you’ll see an abundance of wildflowers in the open areas and meadows throughout the lower elevations of the park.

To help you identify wild flowers in the field, download the Mt. Rainier Wildflower site bulletin.

[TIP: Click a photo to view Layout options and the Picture Tools menu]. .

Subalpine wildflowers bloom along the trails of mount rainier.

Plan Your Trip

  • Where to Stay in the Park

    • Paradise Inn, Paradise. Open May - October

    • National Park Inn, Longmire. Open year round.
    If the Paradise side of Mt. Rainier is your destination 19 miles (30km) east of the Nisqually Entrance, consider staying at the historic Paradise Inn. The nearby Paradise Jackson Visitor Center is the place to get general information, guided ranger programs and offers a cafeteria and gift shop. The Paradise Inn offers comfortable rooms at a reasonable price, especially for the location. The nearby Paradise Jackson Visitor Center is the place to get general information, guided ranger programs and offers a cafeteria and gift shop. The Paradise side of Mt. Rainier receives on average 643 inches (53.6 feet/16.3 meters) of snow a year and offers many winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing.

The road between Longmire and Paradise is plowed throughout the winter.

Longmire, the original park headquarters, is 6.5 miles (10.5 km) east of the Nisqually Entrance in the southwest corner of the park. The old park headquarters building houses a museum open daily throughout the year. The historic National Park Inn, with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, offers a great place to stay.

Olympic National Park

  • Fast Facts

    • [Tip: add a shaded text box, such as this one, to highlight important information]

    • 12 major watersheds and more than 4,000 miles of rivers and streams.

    • 600 high lakes, two large lakes, and more than 70 miles of intertidal habitats along the Pacific Coast. 

    • Lake Ozette—the third largest natural lake in Washington State.

    • 31 native freshwater species from 11 different families of fish.

    • At least 70 unique populations of Pacific salmon, trout, and char.

    • 5 non-native fish species: brook trout, yellow perch, largemouth bass, yellow bullhead, and American shad.

    • As of 2008, 5 fish species on the federally threatened species list: bull trout, Puget Sound steelhead, Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Hood Canal summer chum salmon, and Ozette Lake sockeye salmon.
    Olympic National Park is actually three parks in one. The majority of its 900,000 acres is filled by the majestic Olympic Mountains. Then there are the park’s western rainforest valleys, which drain into 60 miles of Pacific Coast seashore. Each ecosystem supports diverse populations of fish.

Taken together, these diverse areas provide plentiful fly-fishing opportunities all year long. Even better, many of these areas are usually not crowded, and the backcountry fishing is virtually untapped. You may find it worthwhile, though, to do your homework and ensure you are heading for the right location considering the season.

So grab your pole and your flies, and break out your ferry schedule. It’s time to head out to the Peninsula for some fly fishing, hiking and more!

Fly Fishing Hotspots

[TIP: Click the chart below to modify layout options, chart elements, chart style and color, as well as values and names]. The chart below tracks river discharge over the course of a week for 3 of the best fly fishing rivers in the Olympic and can be used to predict fishing conditions.

Discover Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent is 5,000 acres of beauty and stillness. Some people compare its sheer mountain peaks, which jut straight out of its crystal-clear water, to Norway’s fjords. It’s the most famous lake in the park, not just for its beauty but also for its fishing. Common species of trout found there include the Lake Crescent cutthroat and the Beardslee rainbow. Keep your eye peeled for the small but delicious Kokanee salmon as well.

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Lake Crescent in the spring

If Lake Crescent is your destination, consider staying at the scenic lodge and resort, which is located right on the lake’s western shores and run by the national park. You can stay in one of the many cabins, eat a lovely breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the lodge, and then walk about a hundred yards down to the lake for great fishing. Highly recommended.

There are a variety of fish species in Lake Crescent, as well as the other lakes and rivers in the Olympic National Park:

At a Glance

Hoh River

Elwha River

The Queets

Lake Crescent

Lake Ozette

Lake Quinault

Rainbow Trout

Cutthroat Trout

Kokanee Salmon

Places to Stay

The river lodge off Highway 101 between Forks and Port Angeles makes a great base for fishing the Peninsula, as do lodges on Lake Crescent and Lake Quinault. The owners at the river lodge also offer a fishing guide service, specializing in steelhead and salmon outings.

1 Check out this site for other great hikes.

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