You may have seen Mt Rainier – the mountain that keeps a sleepy watch over Seattle. It usually pops up in any outside shots of Seattle pictures, or in TV series (yes, I am talking about my favourite Grey’s Anatomy), or movies.
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Rainier is in the Cascade Range and is actually an active volcano, along the North American tectonic plate, just north of Mount Saint Helens. At 14,411 feet, Rainier is the highest mountain/volcano of the Cascades, but actually quite young in geologic terms as it was only formed about 500,000 years (only?!) She is listed as one of the Decade Volcanoes list:
16 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.
Source: Wikepedia My friend and I were lucky: we visited on a rare sunny day – and at 30 degrees C, Seattle was undergoing a bout of dry weather – and has been, I’ve been told, for a couple of years (as of 2015), resulting in water shortages. This was evident in how low the rivers were.
Despite this, it was glorious to road trip it out there.
What awaits you?
The National Park was established in 1899 by the U.S. Congress. You can expect numerous hiking trails, various places to stay: inns, opportunities to camp, fish (if you have a permit) or just take a drive around, like we did. Interesting Mount Rainier facts
- The Native Americans referred to Rainier as Talol, Tahoma or Tacoma
- George Vancouver named the mountain its current name, in honour of his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier
- On exceptionally clear days, it’s possible to spot Rainier from as far away as Portland, Oregon and Victoria, British Colombia (Canada)
- Roughly five earthquakes are recorded each month at its summit
- It last erupted in 1894
- It can take 2-3 days climbing to reach the summit, and entails traversing the largest glaciers in the United States south of Alaska
- It’s possible to do Seattle to Mt Rainier as a day trip. The journey, by car, is 76 miles (122 km) and takes approx. one and a half hours.
To find out more, visit their official page: Visit Rainier Meanwhile, enjoy my pictures – whet your appetite to go and visit yourself.
Yes, whilst it’s possible to travel Seattle to Mt Rainier in a day, why not overnight? There are some wonderful places to choose from to stay. This post was originally written in JUL 2015 and has been updated in MAR 2018