Mount Rainier National Park is an easy drive from Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle and is known as a great introduction to serious mountain climbing. The summit is at 14,410 feet and is not a climb for beginners. Guides abound if you want to summit this spectacular and glaciated peak, but most visitors take on shorter hikes throughout the park. Mount Rainier National Park offers several overlooks with amazing views.
Quick Guide to Mount Rainier National Park
To best enjoy this park, we recommend figuring out the best time to visit for your needs and the right gear for spending time outside in the park. This information can be found in more depth on the Mount Rainier National Park website, but we break it down for first-time and out-of-state visitors.
When to Go
Summer is the most popular time to visit the park. Make sure to plan your lodging far in advance if you are visiting in the summer. Permits may be required for some hikes as well. If you want an empty park, go for winter, but many roads are impassable.
For a winter or late fall visit, chains are a must for your vehicle. Most roads in Mount Rainier National Park are closed in winter but current conditions can be found at the park service websites. Rangers warn that weather conditions in winter can be unpredictable.
The right gear is essential for romping around Rainier National Park. Don’t skimp on sun protection in summer or winter. If you are looking for solitude and decide on a winter hike, take sunglasses with good coverage, a hat like one of our snapback trucker hats, and high quality sunscreen with SPF 30 or above. Make sure to bring paper maps in addition to online maps.
Mount Rainier National Park has amazing views, and many of them include bright and sunlit snow, which is why a good pair of sunglasses (preferably wraparound) and a brimmed hat are fundamental. If hiking, especially in all-day snowy conditions, you’ll be thankful for eye and sun protection.