Mount Rainier National Park overall is really quite lovely- the mountain is covered in glaciers that perfectly reflect the sunlight and provide an excellent contrast for the multiple wildflower meadows and alpine forests that surround the peak. Glacier melt creates streams and waterfalls, and surrounding mountains help set the gorgeous scene. But with so much beauty in one place, it’s hard to decide where to start. Here are a few of our nominees for the most stunning spot in Mount Rainier National Park (in no particular order!)
A place that calls itself “paradise” better be pretty fantastic- and Mount Rainier’s Paradise definitely lives up to its name. Pioneer James Longmire’s daughter-in-law exclaimed, “oh, what a paradise” upon seeing the location, and the nickname stuck. Wildflowers abound at paradise, and it provides a perfect view of Mount Rainier. In the winter, when it isn’t abloom with flowers, it’s the best place to experience a plethora of snow sport, like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
2. Spray Park
You could spend days getting blissfully lost in Spray Park. The hike itself is only three and a half miles, but be sure to take plenty of time to explore the pockets of wonderfully scented wildflowers hidden between rocky moraines. It also makes the perfect setting for a picture-perfect picnic, and if you’ve ever dreamed of taking a nap in a meadow of flowers- here’s your chance!
3. Mazama Ridge
Mazama Ridge is located above Paradise, so it offers similarly stunning views. It is a (yet another) perfect spot to see some flora and fauna, and it’s also prime snowshoeing and skiing location in the winter.
4. Plummer Peak
This awe-inspiring hike may just cause you to start re-enacting the first scene of the Sound of Music- it’s that amazing. On a good day, you can see for miles and miles; on a bad day, you’ll just have to settle for mountain vistas and wildflower meadows.
There’s more to Mount Rainier National Park than flowers and snowshoeing- there’s also the park’s signature waterfalls, Christine Falls. The Christine Falls Bridge adds some charm to the scene, making it a very picturesque hike, especially since pictures can’t really do it justice (it’s hard to get both falls in one shot).
By Anna Hider