History of Mount Rainier for Kids

500,000 years ago

The volcano now known as Mount Rainier formed during 5 eruptive periods of activity. During this time, eruptions left behind layers of lava forming the mountain we see today.
Native peoples gathering resources with rock walls behind
Gathering supplies at Mount Rainier

Artwork by Michael Stasinos, originally published in “Berkeley Rockshelter Lithics: Understanding the Late Holocene Use of the Mount Rainier Area.”  Bradford W. Andrews, Kipp O. Godfrey, and Greg C. Burtchard.  Journal of Northwest Anthropology, 50(2):167

9,000 years ago

The ancestors of current American Indian tribes started to visit to the forests and meadows around the mountain to hunt, fish, and gather plants. American Indian tribes continue to have a close relationship with the mountain to this day.
Peter Rainier
Rear Admiral Peter Rainier

NPS photo


Upon seeing the mountain for his ship in Puget Sound, British Captain George Vancouver named Mount Rainier after his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.
Two older men holding a United States flag between them.
Van Trump and Stevens several years after their historic climb

NPS photo


Philemon Van Trump and General Hazard Stevens make the first documented ascent of Mount Rainier, with help from their native guide Sluiskin.
Rustic building in meadow with Mount Rainier rising in the background
Longmire Springs Hotel

NPS photo


James Longmire and his wife Virinda build Longmire Springs, Mount Rainier's first hotel.
Woman wearing a dress with some climbing gear.
Fay Fuller

NPS photo

Fay Fuller, a teacher from Yelm, Washington, becomes the first woman to climb the mountain.


Mount Rainier becomes the nation's fifth national park.
Men golfing with Mount Rainier in the background
Golfing at Mount Rainier

NPS photo


During the Great Depression, Mount Rainier builds a lot of new trails and campgrounds and even opens a nine hole golf course to try and attract new visitors.
A dozen men on skis in white uniforms with Mount Rainier in the background
Army troops training at Mount Rainier

NPS photo


During World War II, Mount Rainier serves as a training facility for the army's new mountain divisions.
Colorful meadows of wildflowers
The fragile meadows of Mount Rainier

NPS photo


Over 95% of the park is designated as wilderness giving the mountain more protection against over use.
Visitors at Paradise in front of a busy parking lot
Park Visitors

NPS photo


Almost 2 million people visit the park each year!

Last updated: October 13, 2017

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