MT. RAINIER, Wash. – Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the summer visitor season at Mt. Rainier National Park, but why not get a jumpstart on planning your adventure?! After the snow gets plowed, the roadsides get a spring cleaning and the park rangers don their summer uniform, it’s time to welcome excited visitors to the Mt. Rainier area for summer fun and limitless outdoor activities in and around the park. Visit Rainier has compiled the Top 10 Ways to Experience Mt. Rainier this summer:
Sightsee on the White Pass and Chinook Scenic Byways
Flanked to the north and south by two nationally recognized scenic byways, take a sightseeing adventure to Mt. Rainier this summer and see the sights from the comfort of your car. Both byways provide incredible opportunities for experiencing the area’s beauty. Enjoy a journey passing through small mountain communities, resource lands, river valleys, foothills, and alpine country.
Trek to Silver Falls at Ohanapecosh
For admirers of waterfalls, Silver Falls is one of the park's best. Be sure to take the path up to a viewpoint near the top of the falls, allowing you to appreciate the wonder of the falls from a scenic overlook. To access Silver Falls, take the easy 3-mile Silver Falls loop trail from the Ohanapecosh Campground.
Visit the Temperate Rainforest at Carbon River
Located in the extreme northwestern corner of the park, the Carbon River area of the park invites visitors to explore a unique ecosystem -- an inland temperate rainforest. It’s a far cry from the wide-open meadows at Paradise, but instead offers marvelous long-hanging moss, towering Douglas firs, an endless parade of ferns and lichens, and a bit of peace and tranquility unequalled in other areas of the park.
Walk the Wildflower & Nature Trails at Paradise
In the summer months, meadows surrounding Paradise become alive with color and folks come from all over the world to delight in their beauty. Marvel over pink penstemon, purple lupine, yellow cinquefoils, red paintbrush and bright white avalanche lilies. Set out on the system of paved nature trails from Paradise and venture into these dazzling meadows. The gentle family-friendly Nisqually Vista Trail is a fan favorite for meandering the mountainside. For a more strenuous journey offering a bit more solitude, continue up the Skyline Trail with its jaw-dropping views.
Ride the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Board the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe and take an 18-mile picturesque ride on a vintage logging locomotive into the countryside near the mountain. Not to be confused with a luxurious rail line, this train offers a friendly and fun atmosphere, with plenty of room for children in the group to walk around and see the sights. The view of the great mountain as the train crosses the Nisqually River is breathtaking.
Discover Picture-Perfect Myrtle Falls
With bigger-than-life Mount Rainier as its backdrop, watch Myrtle Falls as it descends along Edith Creek. It's a classic view - and one of the signature views in Mount Rainier National Park. The falls descend 60 to 80 feet through the impressive gorge carved out by Edith Creek. It’s a family-friendly walk (less than a mile) along a paved nature trail to Edith Creek from the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise. For the best view of the falls, take a short jaunt down an unpaved trail, looking back up at the mountain and bridge crossing Edith Creek.
See New Exhibits at the Sunrise Visitor Center
At an elevation of 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park. The exhibits at the Sunrise Visitor Center will teach you about the volcanic forces that created the mountain, the glaciers that mold the landscape, the plant and animal life of the sub-alpine meadows, and the tribes that are tied to the area. The area offers a multitude of hike trail heads, paved nature trails, gift shops, snack bars, restrooms, and ranger stations.
Summit House Dinners & Scenic Gondola Rides
Perched atop Crystal Mountain at 6,872 feet, the Summit House serves-up breathtaking views and toe-warming treats. On a clear day, take in views of the Northwest’s most famous volcanic peaks. It’s like dining at the top of the world. The Summit House is open year-round and in the summer months, offers dramatic sunset dinners and a not-to-be-missed Sunday brunch. And how does one reach the top? With a relaxing ride up the Mt. Rainier Gondola. In the summer months, cruise over wildflower fields and mountain streams, taking in the mountain beauty that surrounds you.
Have Brunch at Paradise
Where else can you enjoy a delicious Sunday Brunch, dining in an historic, rustic lodge halfway up a mountain? The Sunday brunch at the Paradise Inn Dining Room is legendary. The locally sourced cuisine rivals the Inn’s striking views of Mt. Rainier and the Tatoosh Range. The brunch includes a carving station, smoked salmon, seasonal fresh fruits, delectable desserts and other traditional brunch favorites.
Hike the Sourdough Ridge Trail at Sunrise
Climb into alpine splendor on the family friendly Sourdough Ridge Trail. It's just the trail for those looking to experience the quintessential Sunrise area hike. The trail boasts in-your-face mountain views, a trek through Sunrise’s famous alpine meadows and common sightings of Mt. Rainier’s endearing marmots. Admire the colorful, hardy wildflowers that have successfully adapted to the alpine environment – asters, phlox and penstemon offer a softer side to this volcanic ridge.
Visit Rainier is the official resource for tourism information in the Mount Rainier area. Go to www.visitrainier.com for more information.