People come to Mt. Rainier, in the summer for its myriad displays of wild flowers; in the winter for its endless opportunities of winter sports.
But on a beautiful sunny day in the autumn…
The view could be equally astonishing.
This is also the last chance to catch a glimpse of some late blooming wild flowers such as cascade aster, and pearly everlasting.
Skyline trail out of Paradise Visitor Center is easy and well maintained.
With commanding view of Tahoma, also known as “the great white mountain”.
On a clear day, you are guaranteed a good view of Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.
The animals are too cute to be ignored!
But DO pay attention to the signs: Do NOT step on fragile meadows; Be careful crossing snowfields.
And remember, weather changes can be sudden and lethal this high on the mountains. If you want to hike all the way to Camp Muir, make sure you have proper gears and proceed with caution!
Finally, if you do make it back to the visitor center alive – which is quite easy if you heed to the advice – the park’s second most popular attraction Reflection Lake awaits just 10-minute drive away.
From Tacoma, take Highway 7 S/Mountain Hwy E/Pacific Ave S for 30 miles until you reach Elbe. After Elbe, WA-7 S splits south (right), while you proceed straight onto WA-706. Continue for 15 miles. After entering Mount Rainier National Park through the Nisqually entrance, 706 will turn into Paradise Rd E.
For 16 miles signage will usher you past a number of detours and lookouts until you have finally reached your destination, the Paradise Visitor Center. Parking is available in a number of lots including some overflow lots before you reach the visitor center and some roadside parking just past the Paradise Inn.