• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • Nisqually to Paradise delays and Kautz Creek area closure.

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. Beginning May 29 to mid-July, all services at the Kautz Creek parking and picnic area are closed through the week. Limited parking on Sat & Sun. More »

  • Melting snow bridges and high streamflows create hazards for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers

    Be aware of hidden- and potentially fatal- hazards created by snow bridges and high streamflows on Mount Rainier. More »

King of the Mountain

Mount Rainier with subalpine meadow/forest "parkland" in the foreground.
Subalpine forest/meadow is one of the four main life zones found on Mount Rainier.
NPS Photo
Overview: Students will learn about the low-elevation forest, mid-elevation forest, subalpine forest/meadow, and alpine life zones on Mount Rainier by creating a playdough volcano and plant and animal adaptation cards to determine which team is "king of the mountain".
Grade Level:
6 - 8
Objectives: Students will:
  • identify characteristic life forms in each of the four main life zones
  • describe adaptations of the living things in each ecological community
  • identify that there are no set boundaries for the plants and animals of a life zone and that organisms migrate through more than one life zone
Lesson Plan:
King of the Mountain - word, 53KB
King of the Mountain - pdf, 659KB
Resources: King of the Mountain Powerpoint Presentation
King of the Mountain Adaptation Cards
Life Zone Animals and Plants

Did You Know?

The mountain's namesake: Rear Admiral Peter Rainier of the British Navy.

In 1792, Captain George Vancouver of the British Navy became the first European to sail into the Puget Sound. On the horizon, he noted a large, snowy mountain, known to local Native Americans as Tahoma, Takhoma, or Tacobet. Vancouver named it for his colleague Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.