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Nearby Cities and Towns
Ashford, 23 miles
Auburn, 62 miles
Buckley, 59 miles
Crystal Mountain, 46 miles
Eatonville, 44 miles
Elbe, 31 miles
Enumclaw, 63 miles
Greenwater, 19 miles
Mineral, 19 miles
Morton, 30 miles
Packwood, 29 miles
Randle, 48 miles
Tacoma, 60 miles
Yakima, 74 miles

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Mount Rainier National Park

Description of the Park

Mount Rainier National Park was designed from a master plan which included such things as roads with scenic lookouts, trails and visitor centers. The roads were carefully engineered to make the least impact on the landscape, so you will notice they are narrow, and trees grow close. This creates a wonderful atmosphere to quickly transport you beyond the reminders of the nearby urban belt and bring you to the many beauties of the park which are easily accessed in short walks that ring the mountain. The further you are willing to hike, of course, the more you will see of the views, vegetation, wildlife, rivers, waterfalls, springs and canyons.

The park has more than 300 miles of trails that are usually snow-free from mid-July through September. They range from short walks from viewpoints and visitor centers to the 93-mile Wonderland Trail which completely encircles the mountain. A circuit of the latter takes about 10-14 days. There are a number of self-guiding nature walks. Ask at the visitor centers about naturalist talks and walks in summer, and snowshoe walks in winter. Horses are allowed on 100 miles of the trails.

The mountain is encircled by old-growth forest, filled with majestic Douglas-fir, red cedar and western hemlock. In the wettest area of the park near Carbon River in the northwest, some botanists contend the vegetation is an example of temperate rain forest. In summer the Park puts on displays of wildflowers that carpet the sub-alpine meadows. The greening meadows follow the zone of contact between advancing springtime and retreating winter, up the mountain. The best time to see the flowers is mid-July to mid-August.

The area abounds with wildlife which is readily seen upon the open, sub-alpine landscape. You can usually see birds, marmots, chipmunks, chickarees, squirrels, pikas and deer without wandering too far. Elk and black bear are more elusive. To see mountain goats, you'll have to hike up to the high country where they live. If you are serious about seeing wildlife, you will need to be on the trails well before 11:00 am.

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