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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • No water/restrooms at Paradise - 10/23/14

    Due to an issue with the Paradise water tanks, there is no drinkable water and only temporary restrooms at Paradise. Use restrooms at Longmire/Narada Falls instead; drinkable water is available in Longmire. More »

  • Nisqually to Paradise Delays

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. More »

  • High Water & Inclement Weather Create Hazardous River Crossings

    Several Wonderland trail bridges on the White River and Carbon River have been washed out by high water. Be advised that some crossings will need to be forded, and in some cases may be impassable while inclement conditions continue. More »

Nature & Science

A view of Mount Rainier from Sunrise, with subalpine meadow in the foreground.
Explore the rich landscape of Mount Rainier from the volcano to subalpine meadows.
NPS Photo
 
Mount Rainier National Park encompasses 236,381.49 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
Learn more about the environment of Mount Rainier and the Northwest Region. Also, make sure to check out their impressive video series.

Inventory and Monitoring at Mount Rainier
The North Coast and Cascades Network also manages all the inventory and monitoring studies carried out in Mount Rainier National Park, which includes surveys of elk, landbirds, landscape dynamics, glaciers, water quality, mountain lakes, forests, subalpine vegetation, and climate.

Did You Know?

Gobblers Knob fire lookout.

In the early 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp constructed fire lookouts throughout the park to help protect the surrounding area from fire. Four historic lookouts still remain in the Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District including Tolmie, Shriner, Fremont, and Gobblers Knob.