SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAYS 46 – 47
We spent seven days exploring Mount Rainier National Park and guess what we found out? Mount Rainier’s prominent peak is the most well-known highlight, but it has much more to offer. The towering 14,410 foot glacier-capped volcano is surrounded with old growth forests, wildflowers galore, splendid waterfalls and glimmering lakes.
We have been fortunate to visit some of the most stunning and jaw-dropping landscapes of America and Canada. Read about our other national park experiences of the trip: Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Waterton Lakes, Banff, Kootenay, Jasper, or North Cascades.
Hiking in Mount Rainier National Park
With limited time to explore, we run into the same challenge at each new park: trying to find the best hikes. We like to mix it up from easy to strenuous hikes with various scenery. We enjoy walking among the trees, trekking along ridgelines and we are suckers for a good waterfall. This week we will share what we deemed as our favorite hikes within Mount Rainier National Park.
Heading to Paradise
The Paradise area is the destination for our first full day in Mt. Rainier. It sits at 5,400 feet on the south slope of the mountain and was named by Virinda Longmire in 1885. She was overwhelmed with its paramount beauty as the wildflowers bloomed. Being one of the most popular spots in the park, accessed through the Nisqually entrance, it is highly recommended to arrive early for your visit.
And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 1 Canadian province and 11 national parks. For the upcoming months, I will be sharing with you our highlights, lowlights, adventures, favorite spots, best tips and our thoughts on three months of road tripping and living in a pop up. I’ll try to answer any and all of your questions too! You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Miles Driven: 254
Total Road Trip Miles Driven: 7,059
Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.69
All States Visited: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, British Columbia & Alberta Provinces
Skyline Trail, via the High Skyline Trail – Strenuous
If you complete the loop, the Skyline Trail is 5.5 miles round-trip and gains 1,700-feet in elevation. We chose the trail because it combines all the best the area has to offer: wildflowers, waterfalls, creeks, glaciers and up-close views of Mt. Rainier.
In late-July and early August, it is wildflower extravaganza in Mt. Rainier. The beginning of the trail led us through meadows of wildflowers providing a colorful foreground to the striking mountain.
Next, we passed two waterfalls, Myrtle Falls and Sluiskin Falls, along with a few creeks before ascending through snow.
As we continued to climb, the views kept growing more inspiring and impressive. At 6,800 feet high, reaching Panorama Point was the pinnacle of the hike. Up close and personal was Mt. Rainier on one side and expansive views of Paradise Valley, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and even Mount Hood in the distance on the other side.
Narada Falls and Reflection Lake
On the drive back down, make sure to stop at Narada Falls and Reflection Lake.
It took us about 4 ½ hours to complete the loop including stops for pictures and lunch. All in all, I’d say it was a first great day in the park!
Be Part of the Adventure.
We’ve now visited ten national parks on this one road trip! What’s your favorite national park?
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