VISITING MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK IS CERTAINLY A MUST-DO WHEN VISITING SEATTLE.
It’s hard to get to The Mountain, as the locals call it, without passing through Enumclaw, and it’s hard not to see the 14,410-foot icon from just about anywhere on the Plateau. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States. Its meadows are dotted with subalpine wildflowers and ancient forests ring its icy flanks inviting visitors to hike, camp, climb and bike.
The best of The Mountain is on the Enumclaw side, at an elevation of 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park. On clear summer days,
Sunrise provides breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, Emmons glacier, and vibrant wildflower meadows. Sunrise Point offers nearly 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys, Mount Rainier, and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range like Mount Adams.
These views and an excellent trail system make Sunrise the second most visited location in the park. Sunrise is located 60 miles northeast of the Nisqually Entrance and 14 miles northwest of the Sunrise/White River turnoff on State Route 410. Sunrise Road opens in late June or early July and closes in late September early October.
CHINOOK PASS SCENIC BYWAY
Head east out of Enumclaw on State Route 410 to the national-recognized Chinook Scenic Byway, an All American Road. Pass through lush forest with peek-a-boo glimpses of Mount Rainier on the way to the national park. Take Chinook Pass all the way to Naches, about 85 miles, in eastern Washington. Take a few minutes, or hours, to nourish your soul at the top along the shore of Lake Tipsoo with its breathtaking views of Mount Rainier – added bonus wildflowers if you’re lucky.
Patchy light snow
BEFORE YOU GO:
There are no gas stations in the national park – make sure you leave Enumclaw with a full tank.
Summer hikes around Mt. Rainier are some of the best in the Northwest. It’s no wonder when Mt. Rainier’s summer wildflower bloom is internationally known. From Enumclaw a quick drive up the Chinook Pass Scenic Byway or along Hwy 165 will take visitors to popular hikes as well, as to cascading waterfalls, sweeping vistas and can offer sneak peeks at wildlife.
HIKES INSIDE THE SUNRISE/WHITE RIVER ENTRANCE TO MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
The hike to Dege Peak yields sightings of approximately 20 varieties of blooms on its 4.2 mile out and back journey from the Sunrise parking lot. On a clear day, this family-friendly hike presents expansive views over an 800-foot elevation gain, to the 7,006-high point at the summit. Hikers can take in views of Goat Rocks, Glacier Peak, Mount Stuart, Mount Daniel, and Mount Adams. The Burroughs trails bring hikers right up close to Mt. Rainier itself.
HIKES INSIDE THE CARBON RIVER ENTRANCE TO MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
The Carbon River entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park is the closest in proximity to major metropolitan areas, but is the least visited entrance to the Park. Visitors can enjoy Spray Park and Mowich Lake and Ipsut Falls in relative solitude midweek.