There are 25 major glaciers on Mount Rainier and numerous unnamed snow or ice patches. The Emmons Glacier has the largest area (4.3 square miles) and Carbon Glacier has the lowest terminus altitude (3,600 feet) of all glaciers in the contiguous 48 states. The Nisqually Glacier has shown dramatic changes in dimension within the last century (Heliker, Johnson and Hodge 1983).
Mount Rainier's glaciers are important indicators of climatic change, major visitor interpretive objects, sources of water for park aquatic systems, and hydroelectric and recreation pursuits outside of the park.
Visit the interactive Mount Rainier glacier webpages of in-depth information on the park's glaciers.
The Mount Rainier Glacier Monitoring 2009 report is now online.
More information on debris flows is available on the USGS website.
Did You Know?
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...