• 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 »

Playdough Topo

An excerpt from a black and white topographic contour map of Mount Rainier.
An excerpt from a topographic contour map of Mount Rainier.
Overview: Students make a clay model volcano, and then create a topographic map of it. This lesson is adapted from the USGS Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard curriculum.
Grade Level:
5 - 12
Objectives: Students will be able to:
  • Recognize mountains and river valleys on a topographic map
  • Visualize how a 2-dimensional topographic map represents a 3-dimensional landscape
  • Understand contour lines and contour interval
  • Increase their spatial visualization skills
Lesson Plan:
Playdough Topo - word, 45KB
Playdough Topo - pdf, 414KB

Mount Rainier Contour Map
Mount Fuji Contour Map
Mount Rainier Anaglyph Map
Mount Fuji Anaglyph Map
USGS Playdough Topo Lesson Plan
USGS Topo Maps & Mount Rainier Lesson Plan

Did You Know?

Visitor exploring the former Paradise Ice Caves.

For many years, the Paradise Ice Caves were a popular attraction at Mount Rainier. Until the 1980s, visitors could explore passages within the Paradise Glacier which had formed due to seasonal melting of the ice. By the early 1990s, climate change had melted away the last traces of the caves. More...