Mount Rainier is indeed a mountain of grand proportions. The tallest in the Cascade range at 14,411 ft., it has more glaciers than any other in the lower 48 states. Mount Rainier is considered by geologists to be one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world based on the amount of damage that could be done if it erupts. I certainly hope that never happens because it would forever change the surrounding landscape, which is unlike any I’ve seen elsewhere.
We left Portland on a Sunday morning and headed to the National Park, stopping at the Ohanapecosh campground (1,950 ft. elevation) to setup camp. The Ohanapecosh River runs through the campground and we had two campsites directly beside it.
Ohanapecosh River at the campground
view from our campsite
After setting up camp, we headed to the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier. The road twists and climbs, with stunning views of jagged peaks and deep forested valleys along the way. At 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached at Mount Rainier via car.
Visitor’s Center at Sunrise
On the drive up, the conditions quickly changed. Within 15 minutes of arriving, a heavy cloud layer moved in. We started hiking along the Sourdough Ridge trail, but we couldn’t see anything around us.
The fog and clouds just kept getting thicker, so we turned around and drove back towards the campground. On the way back, small blue openings in the sky gave way to sunnier conditions at the much lower elevation. We decided to do a short hike at the Grove of the Patriarchs. The trail leads to a small island of old-growth trees surrounded by a split in the Ohanapecosh River.
suspension bridge across the Ohanapecosh River
massive downed tree next to boardwalk path
After this hike, we headed back to camp for dinner and relaxation. In the morning, we hiked the Silver Falls trail, accessed directly across from our campsites.
After breakfast, we decided to head back to Sunrise to see what we missed the day before. Conditions were perfect, with sunny blue skies.
Sunrise Point pullout
We hiked along the Palisades Lakes trail for a short distance to see views of surrounding peaks.
parking lot at Sunrise, this time without the clouds and fog
We hiked along the Silver Forest trail for about 2 miles. Wildflowers covered the meadows all around us and views surrounded us in all directions.
there she is!!
I just couldn’t stop taking photos of Rainier. It’s so stunning.
Mount Rainier from Silver Forest trail at Sunrise
Mount Rainier from the Silver Forest trail
After hiking and stopping for ice cream at the Sunrise Day Lodge, we left the Sunrise area and headed towards Paradise with several stops along the way.
Reflection Lake and Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier at Paradise
Tatoosh Range viewed from Paradise parking area
To say that I was in awe of the mountain would be an understatement. I’m already planning another trip here in a few weeks and can’t wait to do more hiking in the area.