Mount Rainier National Park, established in 1899, is made up of over 236,000 acres. It's most prominent attraction is, of course, Mount Rainier, but the park also includes valleys, meadows, and waterfalls. The park includes 42 locations that are part of the National Register of Historic Places. Four of those are National Historic Landmarks.
Mount Rainier, part of the Cascade Range, towers above the Washington state landscape. It rises 14,410 feet above sea level. Mount Rainier is an active volcano and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. The mountain is also the starting point for five major rivers.
The most popular destination in the park is Paradise, a large area on Mount Rainier's south slope. The area includes Paradise River and the historic Paradise Inn.
Another frequently visited area is Sunrise, which is in the northeastern part of the park. Numerous trails are located in the Sunrise area, and it includes the highest point in Mount Rainier National Park that can be reached by vehicle.
Longmire is another popular destination in the park. The area is part of the Nisqually River valley. Prominent locations in Longmire incluse the National Park Inn and the Longmire Museum. Longmire is the second most popular location in Mount Rainier National Park, and is an entrance to the Wonderland Trail.
Wonderland Trail circles Mount Rainier. The trail runs through meadows filled with wildflowers and a variety of lowland forests. The trail covers approximately 93 miles, and generally takes 10 to 14 days to complete. Of course, you can just hike much shorter parts of the trail. Elevation gain is around 22,000 feet. A backcountry permit is required for the hike, and permits are acquired through a lottery system. Camping is also popular along the trail, and eighteen trailside camps are available for use.
Numerous activites besides hiking and camping are options at the park. In the winter, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding are popular. You can also enjoy train rides, visiting a wildlife park, or taking a scenic gondola ride.
Mount Rainier National Park has a variety of lodging options, including historic inn and lodges, mountain vacation retreats, and cozy bed and breakfasts. Shopping opporunities are also abudant in the surrounding communities.