Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Approximately 100 miles to our west, is the majestic Mount Rainier. At 14,410 feet, Rainier is the 17th tallest peak in the US, is an active volcano, and includes a wide range of ecosystems from glaciated peaks and wildflower meadows, to an old growth forest.
Mount Rainier has five developed areas: Longmire, Paradise, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon/Mowich. Although the level of development in these areas ranges from basic -little more than a campground and picnic area- to extensive -hotel, restaurant, visitor center, campgrounds and picnic areas- each can serve as a base for exploring the rest of the park.
Trail and backcountry camp conditions are reported in detail during the summer months only (generally June-September). A Wilderness Camping Permit is required year round for camping or climbing in the park. Always check with Park Rangers for trail conditions before heading out into the backcountry. FIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED in the wilderness at Mt. Rainier, nor are dogs (with the exception of those hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or for individuals requiring a guide dog).
With over 260 miles of maintained trails, through all different types of environments, Mount Rainier offers up an expansive wilderness ready for the explorer.
Distance from Yakima Valley: about 2.0 hours drive time one way
What to bring: A sense of adventure, water, hiking boots, binoculars, camera, trail mix, lunch, clothing for all types of weather conditions
Who should go: the whole family – hiking available for individuals at all levels including some wheel chair accessible trails, plus stunning views and picnic sites for individuals who might not be able to hike
Cost: The entrance fee is $15 for a private, noncommercial vehicle with a seating capacity of 15 or less; or $5 for each visitor 16 and older entering by motorcycle, bicycle, horseback, on foot, or for individuals traveling together as a non-commercial, organized group. Click here for more info on fees.
When: year round, but the summer is an especially nice time if you plan to do some hiking
More info: Mount Rainier National Park