With over 260 miles of maintained trails, Mount Rainier National Park is a solid choice when it comes to picking your ideal day hiking destinations outside of Seattle, WA or when passing by during a road trip to San Francisco. Various scenery can be enjoyed during these hikes – from lakes and forests to river valleys alpine meadows. The trails are usually well marked and easy to follow. Designated lunch spots are also available along the trails.
Best time to hike
The best time to visit Mount Rainier National Park is during the summer months. The weather is milder and wildflowers bloom. Rainy days can still occur, so make sure to pack a rain jacket in your backpack. Late June and early September are usually less crowded, so better visit during this time. If you can’t avoid peak season in July and August, try to be there as early as possible to head for a late start (around 5-6pm).
Rampart Ridge Trail
Rampart Ridge Trail can be reached by taking a Trail of the Shadows first, which begins across from the National Park Inn in Longmire. You will be walking through an old forest along the old lava flow. About 2 miles later you will reach a viewpoint overlooking Nisqually River Valley and, weather permitting, view of the mt Rainier itself!
Duration: 3.5 hours; Elevation Gain: 1,350 ft; Distance: 5.2 mi loop
Bench & Snow Lakes Trail
With the constant ups and downs, this trail is not an easy one. However, you will be rewarded with amazing views once you get to the Snow and Trail lakes. The icy peaks of the Tatoosh Range rising high above the lake gave the Snow lake its name. The parking spot for this hike is in Steven Canyon, about 1 mile before Louise Lake and Reflection Lake on the left side of the road.
Duration: 2 hours; Elevation Gain: 700 ft; Distance: 2.5 mi loop
Silver Falls Trail
Starting at Ohanapecosh Campground, the trail is fairly easy and therefore popular among families with kids. You will see an old grown forest, have a chance to spot wildlife before your reach the final destination – majestic Silver Falls.
Duration: 2 hours; Elevation Gain: 350 ft; Distance: 2.7 mi
Naches Peak Loop Trail
The trail parking is located at Tipsoo Lake picnic area. Naches Peak Loop Trail is an easy walk along the blooming wildflowers with spectacular views of mt. Rainier. The trail is best hiked counterclockwise.
Duration: 3 hours; Elevation Gain: 700 ft; Distance: 4.5 mi loop
Tolmie Peak Trail
Start at Mowich campground and hike out to Mowich lake for some stunning views. It’s a long hike, so take it easy and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Eunice lake offers great views. but your final destination is actually the historical fire lookout tower. Bugs can be pretty annoying, so bring a bug spray with you!
Duration: 4 hours; Elevation Gain: 1400 ft; Distance: 6.4 mi loop