Mount Rainier sits about 2 hours east of Seattle at a visible 14,000 feet tall. In the summer, the wildflowers bloom and the amazing weather provides ideal hiking conditions for the scenic trailheads. It’s best time of year to visit! With over 200,000 acres to explore, a day trip Mount Rainier seems nearly impossible, but it can be done. Here’s how to experience Mt. Rainier if you only have one day:
Reflection Lake at Sunrise
Reflection Lake is located in Paradise, south of the national park. It’s also one of the most popular parts of the park! Starting the day at Reflection Lake is such a beautiful sight on a clear day, it’s easy to get to and you can access a couple of fun trails from this viewpoint. Be sure to visit on a peaceful morning as you enjoy the sunrise.
Spend the Morning Exploring Hiking Trails
The hiking trails at Mt. Rainier are a true outdoor oasis! Experience some of the best day hikes blended with nature & wildlife galore. There’s many to choose from, but pick a couple to explore what Mt. Rainier has to offer:
Skyline Trail (Southwest area, 5 mi)
Naches Peak Loop (Northeast area, 3.5 mi)
Mt Fremont Lookout Trail (Northeast area, 5.5 mi)
Grove of the Patriarchs Trail (Southeast area, 1.5 mi)
See the Breathtaking Waterfalls at Mount Rainier
Waterfalls are a staple itinerary item when visiting the Pacific Northwest and this national park doesn’t disappoint with the gorgeous waterfall views. Here are the waterfalls you should try to squeeze into your day trip to Mount Rainier:
Take a Scenic Drive to Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain is a popular ski destination that is on the northeast side of the park, it’s a great place to visit year-round. You can reach the top of the mountain by a 15 minute gondola ride and the view at the top is indescribable. Be sure to stop and have lunch on the patio at Summit House Restaurant for a beautiful view from 6,000 feet in the air!
Horseback Riding in the Mountains
After a day of hiking and exploring, unwind with a guided horseback ride in the mountains. In lot C, just outside of the Crystal Mountain resort, Chinook Pass Outfitters offers horseback riding for just $40 per hour. Call ahead to reserve, bring cash and enjoy the scenic trails, you won’t regret it.
Have you visited Mount Rainier National Park? What did you do there? Let me know in the comments below!