If you’re traveling east from Washington State on rt 706, you’re going to end up at Mt. Rainier National Park. I had been seeing the mountain on my trip a lot (It’s clearly visible from Seattle when it’s not raining, which is at least a few days a year). So it was fitting that I would be heading home and be able to stop by the mountain. 706 has a few places to stop and take day hikes, and some visitors centers and museums. The entire drive, of course, offers stunning views of the mountain unless it’s cloudy – which it was the day I was there. Most will eventually end up at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center. This is a great place to learn more about the mountain, and I picked up a book called “The Challenge of Rainier” by Dee Molenaar here – which was pretty cool, because it talked about actually climbing the mountain, and gave me a great sense of the place. Those park gift shops often have really interesting books that you won’t find at your hometown bookstores, and I’ve built a little collection over the years of books about the places I’ve travelled. You’ll pay cover price, but most of these stores are run by Eastern National (even in the Western parks which I’ve never understood) and some of your money goes back into the park, so I find it to be worth it.
Here at Rainier, the key word was “rain”. I was told that a great hike from the visitors center is to Panorama Point, but that the view wouldn’t be great in the current weather conditions. So I took the smaller interpretive Nisqually Vista Trail, and it ended up to be a really scenic hike. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to linger and wait for the weather to change, so there’s more to do here if I return.
My favorite things to do here
- Interpretive Trail
- Visitor Center and Museum
Things I want to come back to do
- Panorama Point Trail
- The mountain is really a volcano!
National Park Service Website: http://www.nps.gov/mora/