Mount Rainier National Park’s Five Best Day Hikes

Published on OutdoorProject.com by Tyson Gillard — August 14, 2014


When it comes to exploring the Cascade Range, it doesn’t get much better than these 5 day hikes within Mount Rainier National Park:


Trail leading up to the first Burrough from Sunrise with Curtis Ridge and the Willis Wall dominating the view. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Burroughs Mountain Trail

Location: NE side of Mount Rainier at Sunrise
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

From Sunrise you’ll depart toward massive Tahoma, with the imposing Willis Wall constantly in front of you and Emmons Glacier (Mount Rainier’s largest) at your side. The ascent to the final burrough takes you into what’s a nearly lifeless environment at 7,402 feet. This point is also the highest point accessible by trail in Mount Rainier National Park.


Spray Falls. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Spray Park + Falls

Location: NW side of Mount Rainier near Mowich Lake
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet

This hike takes you through a broad alpine oasis full of lupine, western bistort, various aster and paintbrush. You will also pass by 354-foot Spray Falls. Keep an eye out for bears in this area; they are known to frequent this amazing subalpine paradise.


Paradise Park, Skyline Trail: Passing over a stream stemming from Paradise Glacier. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Paradise Park, Skyline Trail

Location: South side of Mount Rainier’s at Paradise
Distance: 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet

On this hike, streams turn to creeks that cascade over volcanic rock, creating lush wildflower-filled alpine meadows. Visitors are greeted by the high-pitched chirp of hoary marmots and pikas. And the views are incredible. Under the massive presence of Mount Rainier, you’ll see Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the gnarly Tatoosh Range.


George Lake en route to Gobblers Knob, Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Gobblers Knob + Lake George

Location: Remote west side of Mount Rainier
Distance: 11.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,635 feet

With the closure of the Westside Road, Mount Rainier’s western reaches have become the most remote part of the national park. This makes it the perfect place to see wildlife. After hiking 3.7 miles on the old gravel road (which can also be mountain biked), a trail climbs to opal-hued Lake George; it’s the perfect place for a swim. Afterward, scale the craggy outcropping to the top of Gobblers Knob, a fire lookout perch with jaw-dropping sunset views. In all, this is a great backpacking trip to consider in Mount Rainier National Park.


View south toward Eunice Lake and Mount Rainier (14,411') from Tolmie Peak. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

Tolmie Peak Hike

Location: NW side of Mount Rainier near Mowich Lake
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 990 feet

Named after Doctor William Tolmie of Fort Nisqually, this 5,939-foot peak rises above Eunice Lake to create one of the national park’s most dramatic views, and hence its popularity. Be prepared for a bumpy ride to get to the trailhead; the access road to the Mowich Lake Trailhead area requires 17 miles of gravel road driving.