The gate to Paradise at Longmire closes nightly.
Mon-Fri: Closes at 5:00 pm, depart Paradise no later than 4:30 pm to safely drive down the hill before the gate closes. Sat-Sun: Closes at 7:00 pm, depart Paradise no later than 6:30 pm. More »
The Snow Play area in Paradise is open on weekends and holidays.
The Paradise snow play area for sledding and sliding is open Sat-Sun, and on holidays. More »
Watch out for hazardous winter conditions!
As the amount of snow in the park increases, be aware of increased risk of Avalanches and Snow Immersion Suffocation. More »
Nature & Science
Mount Rainier National Park encompasses 235,625 acres on the west-side of the Cascade Range, and is located about 100 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area. Mount Rainier National Park is approximately 97 percent wilderness and 3 percent National Historic Landmark District and receives approximately 2 million visitors per year.
At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range. It dominates the landscape of a large part of western Washington State. The mountain stands nearly three miles higher than the lowlands to the west and one and one-half miles higher than the adjacent mountains. It is an active volcano that last erupted approximately 150 years ago. The park contains 25 named glaciers across 9 major watersheds, with 382 lakes and 470 rivers and streams and over 3,000 acres of other wetland types.
The park is part of a complex ecosystem. Vegetation is diverse, reflecting the varied climatic and environmental conditions encountered across the park's 12,800-feet elevation gradient. Approximately 58 percent of the park is forested, 23 percent is subalpine parkland, and the remainder is alpine, half of which is vegetated and the other half consists of permanent snow and ice. Forest ages range from less than 100 years old on burned areas and moraines left by receding glaciers to old-growth stands 1,000 or more years. Some alpine heather communities have persisted in the park for up to 10,000 years.
Species known or thought to occur in the park include more than 964 vascular plants, 182 birds, 65 mammals, 11 amphibians, 4 reptiles, and 12 native fishes. Of these vertebrates, 3 species of fish are federally listed as threatened, while 2 bird, 3 bat, 3 amphibian, and 1 insect species are federally listed species of concern. Several species are listed as imperiled or species of concern by the state of Washington. Species that have historically occurred in the park but are no longer believed to be present include the gray wolf, grizzly bear, and Canada lynx.
North Coast and Cascades Science Learning Network
Provides additional information on the environment of Mount Rainier and the Northwest Region.
Did You Know?
In June 1945, President Harry Truman visited Mount Rainier National Park, dined at the Paradise Inn and played a song on the Inn's piano. This piano and other notable items are preserved today in the Paradise Inn, part of an effort to maintain the park's rich historic legacy. More...