Like a mysterious, white-clad woman, often veiled in clouds even when the surrounding forests and fields are bathed in sunlight, Mt. Rainier is the centerpiece of its namesake park. The impressive volcanic peak stands at an elevation of 14,411 feet, making it the fifth-highest peak in the lower 48 states. More than 2 million visitors a year enjoy spectacular views of the mountain and return home with a lifelong memory of its image.
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Things you can't miss
For great views of Mount Rainier, hike Skyline Trail past wildflower meadows to Panorama Point. The Alta Vista Trail is easier — and just as rewarding.
Curved Light USA / Alamy
Millennium-old Douglas firs and red cedars tower overhead at the aptly named Grove of the Patriarchs, located on an island in the Ohanapecosh River.
Kevin Ebi / Alamy
The park’s highest road leads to the Sunrise Visitor Center, where the Sourdough Ridge Trail offers unparalleled vistas of the peaks of the Cascade Range.
Don Geyer / Alamy
Named for an 1880s homesteader, this site sits on the Nisqually River. An easy walk takes you to hot springs, where early visitors took the waters.
Andre Jenny / Alamy
On calm days, the image of Mount Rainier mirrored on the surface of the Reflection Lakes creates one of the park’s most glorious and evocative scenes.
Don Geyer / Alamy
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Must Reads Before You Go
See (or climb!) these majestic mountains in the United States: McKinley, Rainier, Shasta and seven more.