Snapshot: Mount Rainier National Park

There’s something about getting on a new and challenging trail — feeling your limbs working, heartbeat racing, and breath quickening. My favorite part is clearing the treeline, looking back at the surrounding vista and letting nature take my breath away in a different fashion than the steep trail already has. Then, while breathing in the fresh air, I can stop and appreciate that we still have open spaces like this to enjoy. 

Our visit to Mt Rainier NP felt too short — there’s still too many trails and areas of the park to explore. Of course, you won’t be hard pressed to find pretty meadows, breathtaking vistas and views of Mt Rainier no matter where you go. However, Paradise (a different paradise than the eternal life kind), offers some of the best views around. As a result, it’s also one of the most popular sections of the park.

Reflection Lake living up to its name. To snag a picture of Mt Rainier reflected in the water, you’ll need to walk to the small set of boulders by the road. 

Skyline trail

This hike is 8+ miles roundtrip when you hike to the Panorama Point and add in the high Skyline trail. It’s considered a strenuous hike as there are portions of the hike that are quite steep. There are a number of other spur trails along the way to check out too.

I liked this trail so much I hiked it twice! (Actually, I did hike it twice but mainly because the first time I did the whole circuit it was a super foggy day so I just had to come back to see the alpine meadows and wildflowers in the sunshine!)

Cheeky, chubby marmots everywhere! 😍
Mountain ranges all around. I believe that’s Mt Hood on the left, in the distance.
That’s the view that brings in the crowds!
💐 Gurgling stream? ✔ Wildflowers? ✔✔
For a portion of the trail, you’ll be hiking over packed snow, even in summer! (And see how foggy it was?)
Colorful Indian Paintbrush lined the trail. The bursts of color brighten even the foggiest days.
Beautiful wildflowers adorn the hillsides – just what I came back to see!

RV/Oversized vehicle parking: 

For the Skyine Trail, there’s parking in the upper and lower lot located less than a quarter mile from the trailhead in Paradise. The trailhead itself is right behind the visitor center, which also has a large parking lot, but doesn’t have RV parking. Your other option is to park your RV alongside the road leading away from the visitor center parking lot. Expect the lots to fill by 10 a.m.

We camped at Cougar Rock campground, which was dry camping only. The sites can be reserved online ahead of time and costs $20 per night.

Silver Falls trail to East Trail to Grove of the Patriarchs

Roughly 5 miles roundtrip. You can pick up the trail just past the amphitheater in the Ohanapecosh campground. The trail is considered moderately strenuous.

Expect the Grove of the Patriarchs to be pretty crowded as it’s a popular spot. Frankly, I enjoyed the views on the East Trail more than the Grove simply for the solitude.

Pretty gurgling streams along the trail
Giants on the trail

RV/Oversized vehicle parking: Camped for one night at Ohanapecosh campground without an advanced reservation. G and H loops are the only walk-in campsites. All others are reserved. Site G5 was nice, just large enough for the 25-foot RV. 👍

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