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The BEST Mount Rainier National Park Routes

By Daisy Li
Mount Rainier National Park sits proudly in the state of Washington. Here’s what you need to know!

Considered as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, Mount Rainier has the potential of disrupting the entire Puyallup River valley nearby. It towers at 4,392 m above sea level and is the tallest mountain in the region. Its glaciated peaks, imposing presence, and gorgeous surrounding are some of the reasons why Mount Rainier National Park receives millions of visitors each year.

The Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park

The best time to visit Mount Rainier National Park is in the summer months of July and August. During this time, the warmer weather will dot the valley with wildflowers and the clearer days will provide the best view of the undulating hills. However, many of the trails in the lower regions are just as gorgeous during the Spring and Fall months.

It’s important to keep in mind that the summer is also the most visited time of the year. It’s likely that parking will be crowded during the weekends so try to visit on the weekdays or arrive early morning!

Before you visit, make sure the destination is open! Some places, such as White River, Sunrise, Stevens Canyon Road Ohanapecosh, and State Routes 410 and 123 will be closed from around late October till summer due to road conditions.

Regardless of when you visit, remember to pack lots of layers as it can get chilly once you head higher up the elevation.


The Best Mount Rainier National Park Driving Trails

Mount Rainier National Park has a number of treks that are open to visitors. In addition to the hiking trails, there are numerous driving routes that give a wonderful glimpse of the beautiful corners of the park. Many of these routes may cross a few of the same viewpoints, though the number of stops will differ based on the route and your time.

Here are some of the best driving routes at Mount Rainier National Park that you should tackle!

Circle Mt. Rainier Drive

The Circle Mt. Rainier Drive is one of the best and longest driving trails in Mount Rainier National Park. This scenic 5-hour journey starts and ends in Enumclaw on Highway 410. It is 236.6 km in length and has more than a dozen stops along the way.

Chinook Scenic Byway

This path will take you through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park. The scenery is diverse and the sight unforgettable. You will be able to catch a gorgeous view of the landscape and pass by the captivating Columbia Plateau.

Road to Paradise

This route takes 2.5 hours and is approximately 133 kilometers in length. As its name, the Road to Paradise is a gorgeous path that introduces you to the best that Mount Rainier has to offer. Although it may not be as in-depth as Circle Mc. Rainier Drive, Road to Paradise still offers plenty of scenic stops, including waterfalls, rainforests, and more!

Scenic Byways

Scenic Byways is a three-hour journey that takes its visitors along the eastern edge of Mount Rainier. It passes through Chinook Byway and White Pass Scenic Byway, two of the most gorgeous trails in Washington state. This route showcases multiple ridges and edges visitors will fall in love with.

West Side Loop

Approximately three hours in length, West Side Loop will lead the way through Mineral Lake, Kautz Creek, Christine Falls, and a handful of other worthy stops. Roads along this route may be difficult to drive along. Be careful!

Final Thoughts

No matter which route you decide to take when visiting Mount Rainier National Park, you will surely be mesmerized by its dramatic landscape and riding edges. Be careful of the road conditions and make sure to stop along the routes and embark a hike or two!


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