Mount Rainier National Park offers over 260 miles of maintained trails for your enjoyment. Trails lead through the peacefulness of the old-growth forest of the river valleys and the high subalpine meadows on the flanks of Mount Rainier. From these trails explore and experience the forests, lakes, and streams and view the fields of wildflowers and network of glaciers. Pets and bicycles are NOT permitted on any park trails.
The park recommends that day hikers limit their party size to no more than 12 people per group. Day hikers are advised to keep hiking plans flexible because some trailhead parking lots may be full. Overflow parking is not permitted in order to avoid impeding traffic and to provide a less crowded, higher quality experience for hikers. Alternative trailheads may have space available.
If you're looking for easy and enjoyable trails that the whole family can experience together, see the trails listed below.
In the heavily used Paradise, Sunrise, and Tipsoo Lake meadows, hikers are required by law to stay on trails. All hikers are asked to avoid fragile wildflower meadows, lake shores, and stream banks throughout the park. Please choose a spot for a lunch stop carefully.
Keeping Wildlife Wild
Do not feed wildlife to help Keep Wildlife Wild. Feeding wildlife invites aggressive animal behavior and increases vehicle collisions which may injure people and commonly results in wildlife death. Feeding birds artificially concentrates nest predators, harming young songbirds.
Suggested Day Hikes
Looking for easy and enjoyable trails that the whole family can experience together? Consider the following trails in the Longmire, Paradise, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon/Mowich areas of Mount Rainier National Park. The hikes described below range from short strolls to longer trails through the wilderness. For your safety, never hike alone, carry (and know how to use) the Ten Essentials, and tell someone your plans.
Human and natural history come together in the forest and meadows of Longmire. View bubbling mineral springs and explore a replica of an early homestead cabin. Discover the plants and animals that call this area their home, including deer, birds, and beavers. See photo album below
Across the road from the National Park Inn at Longmire
This steep trail climbs up forested slopes to Rampart Ridge, then follows the top of the ridge to connect to the Wonderland Trail. Make it a loop by following the Wonderland Trail back to Longmire. Viewpoints along the trail look over the Longmire area and provide glimpses of Mount Rainier and the surrounding valleys.
Follow the Trail of the Shadows, located across the road from the National Park Inn at Longmire, to the trail junction.
Walk amidst the clouds and see how weather shapes the landscape, plants, and animals of these high country meadows. Enjoy excellent views of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier. Suitable for families with strollers. See photo album below
Enjoy two lakes along this one trail. In summer, this area is an excellent place to see bear grass and meadow flowers. The trail is a succession of gradual ups and downs crossing low ridges, reaching Bench Lake after 0.75 mile, then continuing another 0.5 mile to Snow Lake.
Stevens Canyon Road, 1.5 miles east of Reflection Lakes
The quiet green forests of Ohanapecosh offer a shady contrast to the windswept high country of the park. Walk under towering Douglas-firs and hemlocks to the bubbling waters of the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs.
The Ohanapecosh River falls majestically 75 feet in a silver spray. Stay on the trail and behind safety barriers. Rocks are wet and slippery. Walk the trail as a loop by crossing the river on the bridge below the falls and return to the campground on the other side of the river.
Loop B of the Ohanapecosh Campground
3 mi/4.8 km roundtrip
Grove of the Patriarchs Trail
The Ohanapecosh River surrounds an island of towering, thousand-year-old Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees. Walk the trail to discover the grandeur and peace of this island. See photo album below
NOTE: The Grove of the Patriarchs is CLOSED to all public entry effective November 17, 2021 and until further notice, due to flooding which caused significant damage to the suspension bridge that provides the only safe access to the area (News Release, 11/17/21). The Grove will remain closed until the bridge can be replaced, which will first require engineers to reevaluate the changing river flow to ensure a safe bridge design. It is not expected to be open for the 2023 summer season. The Grove of the Patriarchs parking lot and restrooms will have normal seasonal access, along with the Eastside and Silver Falls Trails.
A short loop trail connected on either end by the road bridge and a wood foot bridge. From either bridge, gaze 180 feet (55 meters) below at water rushing through a narrow slot canyon carved by the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River.
12 miles west of Ohanapecosh along Stevens Canyon Road
This trail offers views of the White River Valley and Mount Rainier on route to Shadow Lake. Return to Sunrise via the steeper trail to Frozen Lake and Sourdough Ridge or follow the old roadway back to Sunrise.
Sunrise parking area
3 mi/4.8 km roundtrip
Dege Peak via Sourdough Ridge Trail
Enjoy the beautiful subalpine meadows of the Sunrise area. A gentle climb to the ridge top offers breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, with Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Adams in the distance. Stay on trail to protect fragile plants. See photo album below
Explore the subalpine flower fields and breathtaking views of Mount Rainier. Late summer and fall brings an abundant supply of huckleberries. Half of the hike is on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Pets are not permitted on the west half of the loop trail which is inside Mount Rainier National Park.
In summer, the meadows of the basin are a rainbow of wild flowers. Watch for mountain goats on the surrounding slopes and mountain climbers ascending the Inter Glacier to Camp Schurman. After the first mile, a 0.5 mile spur trail leads along the Emmons Moraine to a view of the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the lower 48 states. Stay on designated trails to protect fragile plants.
Rain forests seldom occur far from coastal areas, making the forest that grows in this valley unique. Use this trail to explore the only true inland rain forest at Mount Rainier. See 360 photo below.
Carbon River entrance of Mount Rainier National Park
0.3 mi/0.5 km roundtrip
Old Mine Trail
This short spur trail off of the Carbon River Trail climbs up to the gated entrance of an old mine.
Hike the Carbon River Trail (1.2 miles), then take a steeper spur trail (0.25 mile) to the gated mine entrance.
2.9 mi/4.6 km roundtrip
Chenuis Falls Trail
Hike this trail to view Chenius Falls. Trail requires crossing the Carbon River on foot logs. Use caution crossing the river. Check to make sure the footlog is not washed out before attempting this hike. See photo album below.
Hike the Carbon River Trail (3.5 miles) to the short Chenuis Falls Trail (0.2 mile).
Trail climbs through the forest to Eunice Lake, then ascends to the Tolmie Peak fire lookout for views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding areas. Please stay on the trail to avoid damaging the meadows surrounding the lake.