Life Zones of Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier has three main life zones where plants and animals live. Life zones are ecosystems found at different elevations within the park. The plants and animals that live in the life zones have special adaptations. An adaptation is a body part, trait, or a behavior that helps a living thing survive.
At Mount Rainier:
The forest life zone ranges from 1,700 to 5,000 feet in elevation.
The subalpine life zone ranges from 5,000 to 7,000 feet in elevation.
The alpine life zone ranges from 7,000 to 14,410 feet in elevation.
Forest Life Zone
Subalpine Life Zone
Alpine Life Zone
Continuing your trek up Mount Rainier, the meadows are soon replaced with car-sized boulders and patches of snow. To go any further we would need specialized mountain climbing gear or grow hooves like a mountain goat. Their hooves have a hard outer ring with a spongy center that helps them stick to rocks, like suction cups.
The alpine is a harsh environment. Aside from lichen and some species of heather (a small shrub) no other plants can easily grow here. Some animals venture into the higher elevations during the summer, but aside from mountain goats, a few species of birds, and a newly discovered species of ice worm, not many animals can survive in the alpine year-round.
There are over 964 different species of plants found in Mount Rainier National Park.
Click here for more information about the plants and life zones of Mount Rainier.
Last updated: October 13, 2017