Mount Rainer National Park

Mount Rainer National Park is located in the state of Washington in the United States. The park holds 236,381 acres of land that was once inhabited by Native American tribes including the Puyallup and Yakama tribes. Many sites were found throughout the park showing evidence of older tribes including rock shelters and projectile points. The establishment of the park began in 1893, when the Pacific Forest Reserve was established. This area included a national forest as well as Mount Rainer and was later re-named Mount Rainier Forest Reserve. John Muir, a well-known naturalist, visited the area in 1888, and is credited for early support of establishing the area as a national park. After the 1890’s, other people and organizations became involved in protecting the area under Muir’s efforts, including the Sierra Club and the Northern Pacific Railway. After six attempts to pass the appropriate bill through Congress, President William McKinley established the area as a national park.

Mount Rainer National Park features Mount Rainer, a stratovolcano that reaches a height of 14,410 feet and it typically covered with snow. The park contains elevations between 1,600 and over 14,000 feet, providing the area with a variety of landscapes including fields of wildflowers, glaciers, subalpine meadows, valleys, and old-growth forests.

Mount Rainer National Park receives about 1.8 million visitors each year. The most popular area of the park, known as Paradise, rests at an elevation of 5,400 feet and is said to receive the most snowfall out of any area in the Cascade Range. Visitors can lodge in the Paradise Inn and tour the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center in this area of the park. Visitors can also stay in Sunrise in the northeastern area of the park, which holds an inn and a visitor center. This area is the highest point in the park that visitors can reach by car and offers miles of hiking trails.

The second-most popular area in Mount Rainer National Park is known as Logmire and is located about six miles east from the Nisqually Entrance to the park. This area holds a visitor center, the Longmire Museum, and Mount Rainier’s National Park Inn, which is the only structure in the park that is open to visitors throughout the year. This area is just one of many starting points to the Wonderland Trail, which extends around Mount Rainer. Other areas in the park include Mowich Lake, which has a campground and hiking trails nearby, and Ohanapecosh, an area that holds a visitor center, campground, and ranger station. It is the only area in the park where visitors cannot see Mount Rainer. Mount Rainer National Park was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1997.

Image Caption: Mount Rainier National Park. Credit: Samuel Kerr/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)