Mount Rainier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Washington in Pierce County and Lewis County. It was established on March 2, 1899, covers an area of ​​953 square kilometers around Mount Rainier, a 4392 m high volcano and the highest mountain in the Cascade Range. The mountain rises from the surrounding area which has an average elevation of 500 meters.


Soon after the European settlement of the Northwest of Mount Rainier became the target of excursionists. 1885 Longmire family opened a small inn at the hot springs, which now bear her name. The advance of agriculture and forestry and mining led to efforts to preserve the mountain and its picturesque surroundings. On 2 March 1899, the Congress passed a law that allows the Mount Rainier National Park was established. On November 16, 1988 large parts of the national parks were protected as Wilderness, are among the 97% of the National Park area. In 1997 the park to the National Historic Landmark District because of his exemplary for the further development of the National Parks Master Plan of the National Park Service has been appointed. The general plan of the Mount Rainier National Park from the 1920s represented a significant evolution of the management of scenic protected and recreational purposes dienendem country dar. Then there were the preserved historic National Park buildings from the 1920s and 30s as the Administrative Building at Longmire and the ranger station and the Inn at Paradise.

Historical buildings

  • The White River Entrance is a historic three- building complex and a northern entrance to the park. This district was awarded from 1900 to 1924 is of particular significance, and was received with the number 91,000,177 on 13 March 1991 by the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The national park is also home to the historic Paradise Inn, a 1916 -built hotel. The building was added as a historical monument with the number 87001336 on 28 May 1987 by the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, it was added to the National Historic Landmark.
  • Also in Mount Rainier National Park you will find the historic Yakima Park Stockade Group (also known as North and South Block Houses, Museum, and Stockade at Sunrise ), a complex of buildings erected in 1930. The complex was added as a historical monument with the number 87001337 on 28 May 1987 by the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, it was added to the National Historic Landmark.

Flora and Fauna

With altitude of about 560 meters to over 4300 meters, the park covers a broad range of vegetation zones. The area of the national park around Mount Rainier is covered by dense jungle. The type and density of the forest depends on the height and of the annual rainfall. The deeper and richer rain northwest of the park is covered by a epiphytenreichen rain forest with Douglas fir, hemlock and giant living trees and dense undergrowth. The Grove, in the southeast of the Patriarchs is an island with a terrace up to 1000 years old stock of up to 90 meters high Douglas fir, hemlock and giant trees of life. From an altitude of 1000 meters, the forest becomes less dense. Here dominate American West Weymouthkiefern, purple fir and Nootka false cypress. In the undergrowth various berry bushes grow. From 1400 meters the forest is interspersed with mountain meadows. Here grow Gebirgshemlocks, white -stemmed Swiss pine and subalpine fir. In the park about 50 different mammal species are native. In the wooded park areas mule deer are common, plus elk, black bears, coyotes, or bobcats. In the remote back country of the park Pumas live. There are also many smaller mammals such as porcupines, chipmunks, raccoons, or pine marten. The bird life comprises over 140 species. The largest birds are the golden eagle, the smallest hummingbirds. These hawks, kestrels, jaw and gray jays, woodpeckers, Canada geese and many other birds are found. Its alpine fauna makes the mountain once. Many species of arctic-alpine zone only grow in the Pacific Coast Region of the Northwest, some are endemic to Mount Rainier. Up to an altitude of 2100 meters, the subalpine meadows transform the slopes into lush carpets of flowers. Paradise was already called by the Indians Saghalie Illahe, which translates as " land of peace " means. As soon as the snow melts, bring sunny days and the melt water a rich variety of plants to blossom. These include western anemones and bear grass. In summer the meadows of Paradise into a dense carpet of flowers of lupine, bluebells, Paintbrush, Spiräe, gentian, snake root, valerian, jugglers and arnica flowers are. Sunrise on the northeast side has a different microclimate. In the lee of the mountain is here less in the winter snow, and the summers are longer and drier. Therefore thrive here with the wildflowers of the west side also ragwort, alpine buckwheat and mountain gold lacquer. The tree species differ, grow here weißborkige pine, Engelmann spruce and mountain pasture. The alpine meadows are the habitat for gray marmots and Pikas. The rocky ground above the treeline from an altitude of 2100 meters promotes a micro- habitat for arctic - alpine cushion and cushion plants. These include phlox, lupine Lyall and stems campion. The fauna of this zone consists of mountain goats, white-tailed ptarmigan, Alpine finches, Heidewühlmäusen and pocket gophers. As of 2700 meters, in the zone of perpetual snow, survive only a few lichens and algae, which cover the fields of snow in places, with a rosy tinge. Of these, algae and lichens to the 2.5 -inch-long ice worms live. Outside of the park and other conservation areas, the old trees have been largely cleared and replaced by Douglas firs, which are cleared regularly.


The National Park is visited annually by an average of 1.8 million visitors. Within the park there are five This tourist areas, four of which are equipped with a visitor center, plus numerous ranger stations. The park roads leading to the south and the east half around the mountain, branch roads leading to major attractions and visitor centers. The year-round visitor center at Longmire houses a museum. In its vicinity the 800 -meter-long Trail of the Shadows leads, a nature trail to a clearing. The visitor center at Paradise lies at an altitude of 1600 meters and is surrounded by sub-alpine meadows, through the several trails and paths. From the southern park road is a short path to the 50 meter high Narada Falls. Next is on Park Road of Reflection Lake, on the water surface, the Mount Rainier reflected in nice weather. The Box Canyon in the south of the park is up to 35 meters deep, very narrow canyon that the Cowlitz River has eaten in a lava flow. Located in the southeast of the park visitor center in Ohanapecosh offers the 3.2 km long Grove of the Patriarchs Trail. This trail leads to the oldest, up to 1000 years old giant trees in the park. To the east lies at an altitude of 1920 meters, the Sunrise Visitor Center. Here live a short trail and numerous hiking trails through the mountain meadows with views of the Emmons Glacier and the summit crater. From the north-west a road leads to the Carbon River and in the wettest part of the park. Here the Carbon River Rainforest Trail, a 500 -meter-long trail leads through the dense rain forest. More Ways to Carbon Glacier or Mowich Lake. Around the Mount Rainier leads the 1916 scale 150 km long Wonderland Trail, which one can commit in 10 to 14 days. A total of over 480 miles of hiking trails run through the park. The peak of Mount Rainier each year is the target of about 4,000 climbers. The ascent of the summit usually requires two days. In Paradise are from December to May ski lifts in operation. In addition to skiing, there is the possibility to snowshoe or cross country skiing. Accommodations in the park offer the Paradise Inn and National Park Inn in Longmire, plus five tent sites.


Mount Rainier National Park is very rich in precipitation. Because of the high humidity of the Mount Rainier is often shrouded in clouds for weeks, and as long periods of rain are not uncommon. Main time to visit is June to September. July and August are the driest and warmest months statistically with the most fair-weather days, but also during this time sudden changes in the weather, rain and fog are possible.