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One of the most visited national parks, Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It’s also one of the oldest national parks.
“The mountain receives our expressions and becomes part of us; we imprint our memories upon it and trust it without dearest divisions of our lives. Mt. Rainier does not exist under our feet. Mt. Rainier lives in our minds.”—Bruce Barcott
Mount Rainier was established in 1899. At 14,410 feet, it dominates the landscape of a large part of western Washington State. The mountain is several miles taller than the lowlands to the west and one and one-half miles higher than the adjacent mountains! An active volcano, Mount Rainier last erupted approximately 150 years ago. Nearly two million visitors a year come to Mount Rainier National Park for hiking, moutain climbing, backpacking, and more.
In partnership with the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation supports a public humanities fellowship program for postdocs, thanks to the generous funding of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
From hiking to stargazing to discovering ancient cultures, there's endless opportunity to learn and explore in our national parks. See what fellow park lovers have to say and share your own stories.
The weather in the park is generally cool and rainy--even during July and August. While sometimes sunny, park visitors year-round should bring rain gear. As for the mountain itself? The weather up to the peak is unpredictable and ever-changing. All hikers should come prepared and should be smart about choosing to ascend. Check current conditions and have conversations with park rangers who will know up-to-date information about conditions at the peak.
A popular activity, wilderness camping is allowed in the park only when a permit has been obtained. The park also has three car camping sites, as well as designated tent camping opportunities along trails. All require reservations.
As with many of our western national parks, the vast size of Mount Rainier National Park means a huge variety of plant and animal life. Your elevation will really determine the animals you’ll see—from deer, squirrels, and jays near the foothills to the huge variety of invertebrate life—insects, worms, spiders, and more—found higher up in the Columbia Crest.