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Free Traveling Guides » States » Washington » Mountains

» National Parks

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

mount rainier

Set in its own national park, the glacier-clad Mount Rainier is the highest and most accessible peak in the Cascades. The weather here is often very wet; not until midsummer does the snowpack melt enough to unblock roads. This is the time when the deer and mountain goats appear, the alpine meadows become ablaze with dazzling flowers, and Mount Rainier makes for some perfect hiking.

The 14,410 feet Mount Rainier is the park’s central attraction. It holds the distinction of being the highest peak in the Cascade Range. It is also one of the world's most massive volcanoes. Climbing Mount Rainier itself is hazardous and should be undertaken by experienced climbers with necessary equipment. During the summer, you can also drive the 240 miles of roads that almost circumnavigate Mount Rainier National Park to the various entrances.

If you have only a day to explore the park, consider traversing the south and east sides from Nisqually entrance to Paradise, with a side trip to Sunrise. The stunning 80 mile drive winds through river valleys and lowland forests with glaciated peaks and magnificent views. There are numerous trails radiating from Paradise, such as the 5 mile Skyline Trail to Glacier Overlook, the perfect spot to view the awesome Nisqually Glacier.

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