Seattle to Mt Rainier National Park, United States. A great day trip

Mount Rainier NP - your day trip from Seattle, United States - LifeBeyondBorders
Mount Rainier NP - your day trip from Seattle, United States - LifeBeyondBorders

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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Downtown Seattle, U.S. with Mount Rainier in the background - LifeBeyondBorders
Downtown Seattle, U.S. with Mount Rainier in the background – LifeBeyondBorders

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.

The river at Mt Rainier National Park was just a trickle - the shingle area should have been completely covered with water
The river at Mt Rainier National Park was just a trickle – the shingle area should have been completely covered with water

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.

Spending one day in Mount Rainier National Park - a day trip from Seattle - Washington -United States - LifeBeyondBorders
Spending one day in Mount Rainier National Park – a day trip from Seattle – Washington -United States – LifeBeyondBorders

To find out more, visit their official page: Visit Rainier Meanwhile, enjoy my pictures – whet your appetite to go and visit yourself.

Mount Rainier NP near Seattle, Washington, U.S. also has lush green forest - LifeBeyondBorders
Mount Rainier NP near Seattle, Washington, U.S. also has lush green forest – LifeBeyondBorders
Beautiful bridges span the hiking trails in Mount Rainier NP - Seattle, Washington - U.S. - LifeBeyondBorders
Beautiful bridges span the hiking trails in Mount Rainier NP – Seattle, Washington – U.S. – LifeBeyondBorders

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. Find hotels cheap This post was originally written in JUL 2015 and has been updated in MAR 2018

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Take a day trip from Seattle to Mount Rainier. It's a gorgeous break from Seattle, the Emerald City in the United States - LifeBeyondBorders
Take a day trip from Seattle to Mount Rainier. It’s a gorgeous break from Seattle, the Emerald City in the United States – LifeBeyondBorders

16 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know why but I really had no idea that Mt. Reineir was a day trip away from Seattle. Would love to check this beautiful place out, especiallysince it reminds me of Dante’s Peak. Lol.

    • Yep – possible to do Rainier in a day. It’s possible to go and come back to Seattle in one day, but nicer to stay overnight I think

    • Yes – it would seem when I was there in 2015 that the place had hit a bad dry spell. I think there’s been a lot of rain since though.

  2. Really liked Mt. Rainier. The view is stunning! We did not get rain but it was still quite cloudy and cold. Still lots of snow when we went, so that limited the trail access. But worth it nonetheless!

  3. You need to prepare not just physically but also your hiking equipment, especially in winter time. The view is amazing, in winter. Just be careful in the parking lot, because it is so slippery.

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