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Mt. Rainier National Park is 2 hours south from Seattle, and one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen! The mountains are breathtaking and combining with waterfalls, wildlife, and trails, it’s the perfect destination for a weekend. 

Because I arrived there in November, some of the roads were closed due to snow, and some of the trails were icy and snowy in some areas. We focused on the Paradise area which is still active during the winter season.

It’s always hard to decide what to fo when you only come for a day trip or a weekend! You don’t want to miss out the BEST places but at the same time you can’t do everything.

Here’s are the things you need to do in Mt. Rainier and everything you need to know before arriving!

Mt. rainier paradise

Pro tip before we’ll get started: If you’re choosing to visit late in the season (as we did), make sure you arrive with the necessary supply- Ice grippers for your shoes and hiking poles. We didn’t plan on long and difficult trails therefore we didn’t carry this equipment. Most of the trail was moody and some areas were slippery but normal hiking shoes do the job perfectly. 

Places you MUST see in Mt. Rainier Paradise

Let’s start with some basic information about Paradise. Paradise is famous for its incredible views and wildflowers. It is located in the SW corner of the park and open year-round. The area got its name back in the late 1800s when the park pioneer James Longmire’s daughter in-law, Martha, said “oh, what a paradise!”.

Narada Falls

A popular, easy 0.3 miles out and back trail. One of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen (and I live in Oregon, so I’ve seen a lot). You can see a beautiful rainbow reflecting on the waterfall which I find magical! 

For those who plan a day-hike, Narada Falls and Reflection Lakes loop is a great option. It’s a moderate 5 miles loop to the reflection lakes, another beautiful spot. We didn’t do the whole trail because we were too busy stopping in every viewpoint that it was too late, and we planned another hike on the second day.

Narada Falls- Mt. Rainier

Extra- During the summer you can drive to the reflection road and skip the hike, due to snow, the road was close when we arrived, and you could only hike there. 

Myrle Falls

A moderate 0.8 miles hike out & back. The viewpoint is part of the skyline trail (which is 6 miles). You probably recognize the place from the thousands of Mt. Rainier’s photos. Unlike Narada Falls, you can get an incredible capture of the waterfalls and the mountain behind which gives you the perfect photo. When you’re walking on the skyline trail, you can’t see the falls, before arriving at the bridge, there’s a staircase to your right to a viewpoint where you can see the epic view. 

Extra- you can keep going to Sluiskin Falls. It’s close to Myrtle Falls but the elevation was high, and we were told it’s icy and without the right equipment can be dangerous. 

Skyline Trail

There are multiple options for this trail but overall, it’s a moderate 6 miles loop with 1,800 elevation gain. Again, because we came without the right equipment, we only did half of the trail to Glacier Vista and Panorama Point. 

This is by far one of my favorite hikes in the U.S. and the views were literally breathtaking! The trail took us 3 hours (because I had to draw the incredible mountain) and because we were hypnotized by the beautiful view. If it was up to me, I could spend there the whole day drawing every single viewpoint.  

Skyline Trail Mt. Rainier

We had the perfect day because the skies were clear, and we could see all the way to Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and even Mt. Hood in Oregon. The panorama point and the Glacier Vista point are great places to have your snacks and take a break while enjoying the view. 

Note- We did the first two falls and the viewpoints on our first day. The viewpoints worth stopping and they’re absolutely gorgeous!
We dedicated the whole day for the Skyline trail and drive back to Portland.

You may be interested in reading:

Skyline Trail Mt. Rainier
Epic view all the way to Mt. Hood in Oregon!

What to Bring for Hiking in Mt. Rainier?

  1. Hiking Shoes: probably the most important thing- don’t hike without hiking shoes or hiking boots. There’s a good chance you’ll hike through snow, even during the summer.
  2. Hiking Poles: we forgot to bring our poles back home and regretted it. It takes the stress from your legs and helps keep you balanced.
  3. Camera: any camera will do the job. I don’t think I need to explain; the pictures talk for themselves. 
  4. Jacket/ Rain Jacket: be prepared for all weather conditions, especially if you’re coming at the beginning or late season. I brought too many layers and took all of them after 5 minutes.
    Don’t bring too much because you have to carry it through the whole trail, bring something warm but also easy to carry. 
  5. Bear Spray: the bears are common in Mt. Rainier, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet one (I didn’t) but it’s better to come prepared. The park is well known for its wildlife, before arriving, make sure which animals you may see and how to act if you meet them.
  6. Snacks and Water: always important.
Mt. Rainier Skyline trail

Overall Mt. Rainier National Park is one of the best places in the Pacific Northwest. I loved our weekend and already planning my next trip to the park.

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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Rachel Hall

    Wow. Mount Rainier is on my bucket list. As a Brit, I had nooo idea about the bears – thanks for sharing! Also I love the sketch you did of the Skyline!!

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      Thanks a lot! It’s definitely a bucket list destination 😍

  2. Josy A

    Squeeee I would looove to visit and hike in Mount Rainier. I like the idea of visiting in the autumn (even if that means bringing mircropikes.) You were soooo lucky to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood all from there!

    On clear days we can see Mount Baker from Vancouver, and we love hiking near Mount Garibaldi (which are both giant volcanoes in the same chain as Mount Rainer.) I have never see any of those giants further south though… Mt. Rainier Paradise and all those waterfalls sounds like heaven to me.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      It was incredible to see all of them! I was surprised that we saw all the way to Mt. Hood. I hope you could visit soon!

  3. Venaugh

    Thanks for sharing this! I always need to know what to take for a trip and have to look somewhere else to find it, so I’m glad this is an all in one. The waterfalls look absolutely stunning!

  4. Krista

    This looks like a lovely area to go hiking. And i love all of the waterfalls!

  5. Rebecca

    Thanks for sharing this! Going on the bucket list!

  6. Denise

    Oh how beautiful, I’ve only seen it from afar. And I love your drawing!

  7. Alli

    This spot was on my bucket list before but there’s so much more there than I thought! Great info 😊

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      It’s definitely a bucket list destination! I hope you’ll be able to come soon 😊

  8. Jamie

    Mt Rainer is such a magical place! Narada Falls look gorgeous and thanks for highlighting it as an easy trail, something right up my alley.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I know! My family is the same, we love the trails where we can see breathtaking views without a long, difficult hike. It was 5 mins walk to the falls and they’re at my top 3 now 😊

  9. Kate

    Mt. Rainier is stunning! I’m planning a national park trip for next year, and this is definitely on the list! Great tip with the bear spray, I’ll def bring some!

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      We haven’t seen a bear but maybe because we arrived late in the season. I’m a huge believer of “better be prepared and not see anything, than meet one without knowing what to do”

  10. Your pictures are stunning! Great advice on what to bring for a trip to Mt. Rainier too. I’ve always wanted to go hiking and it looks like a trail I’d be able to manage.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      It’s definitely manageable! The only one who is moderate is the the skyline trail but just take a few breaks if you need and you’re fine- we grabbed out lunch at the top and I stopped for drawing in the middle of the trail

  11. Liz

    Mt. Rainer looks stunning!! Will definitely need to add on my list to visit.

  12. Carrie

    Mt Rainier is at the top of my list! Goooood to know that you need microspikes as early as November — I always forget them assuming all climates are like the southeast where I live, and it’s always an unpleasant surprise to encounter ACTUAL snow and ice.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I know! I lived in a pretty flat country and moved to Oregon 2 years ago-I’m still forgetting them when we hike and it’s so frustrating 😂

  13. Farrah

    I’ve only done one hike (Skyline Trail) at Mt Rainier NP but would loveee to go back to do more! I’d love to check out the waterfalls + other trails! <3

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      The skyline was my favorite! The views were incredible 😍 definitely worth coming back for more!

  14. MacKenzie

    Ooo, seeing all three peaks in one go?! How exciting!! I love how jubilant and excited you look in all your pictures, definitely got me raring to hike Mt. Rainier 😀

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      Thanks a lot! It’s hard not to be excited in such a beautiful place

  15. Vanessa Shields

    What beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails! Love that you don’t have to hike to far to see the waterfalls.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I know! Especially when you have limited time in the area, you want to see as much as possible 😊

  16. Nina Clapperton

    I love that drawing of Mt Ranier you did. This looks like such a great hike.

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