Mount Ranier

Mount Ranier

On a clear day, Mt. Rainier can be seen from all over Seattle, looming in the distance, its beauty striking, even from such a distance—54 miles to the southeast. A common question in Seattle is “is the mountain out?” meaning if it is clear enough to see Rainier. To many, the mountain beckons, calling for a closer look. Luckily, it is an easy day trip to the mountain, which has a variety of visitors’ centers, hiking trails and even a museum to help make your trip easy.

Mt. Rainier is an active volcano and also the most glaciated mountain in the lower 48 states. It has a number of different faces and can be approached from different sides making it the ultimate playground for a variety of outdoors activities. In the winter, snowshoers, cross-country skiers and ice climbers dominate the mountain, while in the summer there are all manner of hikers and climbers from the family on astroll to the hard core mountain climbers.

To come for a day trip one can either book a tour from any number of Seattle agencies, or drive down on one’s own. Be sure to fill up on gas and bring food, water and supplies, as they are not cheap or easy to find once on the mountain. That said, the mountain, once there is beautiful and stunning, and that picnic lunch will delight amongst the wildflowers.

The best time to visit is in late summer, as the majority of the mountain will be open, as the most snow will have melted. A permit is required of all visitors. Do be sure to call ahead to the visitors’ center to see what parts of the mountain are open and accessible before you head down to Mt. Rainier. Visiting on a weekday instead of a weekend will help to keep the crowds down.