22 Fun Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

Post Summary: 22 Fun Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park isn’t just beautiful, but is also one of the coolest national parks in America!

Being one of sixty-seven 14ers in the lower 48 states–and the only one in Washington State–Mount Rainier holds a special place in many Pacific Northwesterner’s hearts.

Keep reading to learn some of the most fun facts about Mount Rainier!

Mount Rainier National Park

Fact Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

  • Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington State
  • Mount Rainier is located in the Cascade Mountains
  • Mount Rainier is an active volcano.
  • Mount Rainier National Park is 369 square miles
  • Mount Rainier’s last volcanic eruption: 1894
  • Mount Rainier Height: 14,411 feet high
  • Mount Rainier Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
  • Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states
  • Number of Glaciers on Mount Rainier: 25
  • Closest city to Mount Rainier: Tacoma / Seattle, Washington
  • Indigenous Name of Mount Rainier: Mount Tahoma
Fun Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

Geology Facts About Mount Rainier

1. How Tall is Mount Rainier?

At 14,411 feet tall, Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington and one of two 14ers in the state!

The other 14er in Washington is Mount Rainier’s sub-peak, Liberty Cap.

Mount Rainier National Park - Glaciers

2. How Many Glaciers are on Mount Rainier?

There are 25 glaciers on Mount Rainier, making it the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states!

You can see many of Mount Rainier’s glaciers in person by visiting Mount Rainier National Park.

This is especially true on the Nisqually Vista Loop (1.1 miles with 200 feet elevation gain) and the Glacier Basin Trail (moderate, 6.5 miles with 1,600 feet elevation gain).

Read More: 20 Incredible Things To Do at Mount Rainier National Park

3. Is Mount Rainier a Volcano?

Yes! Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano that is found in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The last magmatic eruption of Mount Rainier was over 1,000 years ago and the last minor eruption of Mount Rainier was in 1894.

Because of its proximity to Seattle, it’s considered one of the top 16 most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the world!

Fun Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

4. Is Mount Rainier Dangerous?

Mount Rainier is considered one of the deadliest volcanoes in the world, as its seismically active.

Due to its proximity to the densely populated west-side of Washington, Mount Rainier poses a threat to many people, especially if it erupts and causes mudflows or lahars.

The good news is that Mount Rainier is heavily monitored and researched by the U.S. Geological Survey to provide advance warning of future eruptions, so it’s generally safe to visit until seismic activity becomes hazardous!

View of Mount Rainier National Park from the Nisqually Entrance - Paradise Area

5. Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 States

There are 25 named glaciers on Mount Rainier!

Some of the most visited and well-known glaciers on Mount Rainier include the Nisqually Glacier, Winthrop Glacier, and Emmons Glacier.

The cool thing about these glaciers is that visitors can see them for themselves all throughout the park!

Whether you’re visiting the most popular place in the Mount Rainier National Park, Paradise, or on a hiking trail, they are visible!

Berty Mandagie hiking in Mount Rainier National Park

6. There are over 260 miles of maintained trails at Mount Rainier.

Some of the most popular trails in the nation are right here in Mount Rainier National Park! They are also among the most popular photo spots in Washington state!

Among all 260 maintained trails in Mount Rainier National Park, the Wonderland Trail (a bucket list item for many PNW natives!), Nisqually Vista Loop, Pinnacle Peak Trail, and Skyline Trail are some of the most well-known and loved!

Read More: What To Wear Hiking in the Fall (Outfit Inspiration for the Pacific Northwest)

Wildflowers in Mount Rainier National Park

7. The wildflower blooms are iconic around the world.

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most celebrated places in the world for its stunning wildflowers that are native to this part of the Pacific Northwest.

The best time to see wildflowers in Mount Rainier is late July to August. Some of the best places in the park to see them are at Chinook Pass and Tipsoo Lake.

In the park, you’re guaranteed to see Alpine Aster, Bleeding Heart, Cascade Azalea, Beargrass, Bellflower, Bog Orchid, and more!

Be sure to stay on the trail while visiting, as the flowers are quite fragile!

Read More: The 45 Best Gifts For Hikers (Beginner, Budget-Friendly, and Splurge Items)

8. How Big is Mount Rainier National Park?

The park boundaries of Mount Rainier National Park is 36,380.89 acres or 369.34 square miles!

Outside of the park boundaries, there’s an additional 140 acres.

Being so large, there’s tons of places for visitors to explore while also maintaining land for preservation and wildlife.

9. How Far is Mount Rainier National Park from Seattle?

Seattle is 90 miles from the main entrance (Nisqually / Paradise Area) to Mount Rainier National Park. That’s just a 2 hour drive!

For all you city folks looking for an adventure, make your next one a weekend getaway from Seattle!

Mount Rainier National Park in Winter

10. The Average Snowfall At Mount Rainier is 54 feet.

Due to the intense mountain weather in the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier gets around 54 feet of snow each year!

On average, there’s a total of 121 snowy days on Mount Rainier annually.

For comparison, Seattle, which is just 90 miles from Mount Rainier, gets on average 3 inches of snow per year.

11. There are Different Plant and Life Zones within the Park.

The different plant and life zones within Mount Rainier National Park are the Forest Zone, Subalpine Zone, and Alpine Zone.

The Forest Zone is at 1,700-5,000 feet where there are lots of old growth trees, ferns, birds.

At 5,000-7,000 feet, the Subalpine Zone features alpine meadows, heather, wildflowers, and marmots!

And finally, the Alpine Zone at 7,000-14,000 feet primarily boasts snow still in the summer, mountain goats, and tiny plants that can survive harsh cold.

Lodge at Mount Rainier

History Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

12. Who Founded Mount Rainier National Park?

Mount Rainier National Park was founded by James Longmire in 1899.

After discovering a mineral spring while on his way down from summiting the mountain in 1883, James Longmire opened a hotel and spa, which was a catalyst for the development and maintenance of the area.

13. Mount Rainier has deep historic ties with six Native American tribes.

The Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island, Yakima, and Coast Salish tribes all have ties to the land around the park and originally cared for and inhabited this corner of the PNW.

14. What was Mount Rainier’s Indigenous Name?

Originally Indigenous land, Mount Rainier has gone by many names. Primarily “Tahoma”, “Takhoma”, and “Ta-co-bet,” some of which translate to ‘mother of all waters.

15. Mount Rainier is America’s 5th National Park.

After its establishment in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park became the nation’s fifth national park!

Mount Rainier National Park was the fifth national park after Yellowstone (1872), Yosemite, General Grant (now part of Kings Canyon), and Sequoia (1890).

Nowadays, it’s become one of the most popular national parks in America and is known for its stunning views and great hikes.

Paradise Area of Mount Rainier National Park

Other Fun Facts About Mount Rainier

16. More than 2 million people visit the park each year.

Believe it or not, around 2 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year, many of which are tourists from other states and countries.

In 2022 alone, there were 2,371,585 visitors!

17. Summiting Mount Rainier is a Bucket-List Adventure in the Park.

Summiting Washington’s famous 14er is one of the biggest mountaineering accomplishments in the Pacific Northwest, and many people around the world strive to do it each year!

In 2022, 9,530 people attempted to climb to the top of Mount Rainier–half of which reached the summit and many of which occurred during the months of May and June.

It’s estimated that over 500,000 people have attempted summiting Mount Rainier, with about 200,000 successful climbs.

The success of the climb depends on many things, namely gear, guides, preparedness, and even things as unpredictable as the weather! It’s a big deal!

It’s also claimed to be one of the most haunted places in Washington, with lots of lore around why people fail to summit.

18. How much does it cost to go up Mount Rainier? (Summiting)

Though rates vary depending on which route one takes, it costs between $1,118 and $2,068 to attempt summiting Mount Rainier with a guide.

And that doesn’t include fees, gear, and travel costs!

Getting the proper gear, mountaineering permits, climbing fees, guide services, and travel costs add up!

19. What Was the First Successful Ascent of Mount Rainier?

The first people to summit Mount Rainier were P. B. Van Trump and Hazard Stevens in 1870.

The first woman to summit Mount Rainier was Fay Fuller in 1890!

Wildlife at Mount Rainier National PArk

20. There are over 280 species of wildlife that live in the park.

There are 65 species of mammals, 14 species of amphibians, 5 species of reptiles, 14 types of fish, and 182 types of birds within Mount Rainier National Park!

This is one of the most fun facts about Mount Rainier, because you can experience it for yourself. Why not take up birding??

21. A US Military Member Landed A Plane On The Summit.

One of the most interesting facts about Mount Rainier is that Lieutenant John W. Hodgkin, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, landed a ski-equipped Piper Cub on the summit in 1951!

It became a new world record for a high-altitude landing.

When the engine wouldn’t start to leave Mount Rainier, Hodgkin was forced to spend the night on the mountain, then proceeded to push his airplane down the Nisqually Glacier to land on the frozen Mowich Lake!

While Hodgkin was fined $350 for landing in a national park, I think we can all agree that this was a feat of aircraft at the time and an adventure to remember!

Fun Facts About Mount Rainier National Park

22. Walt Disney Spent His Honeymoon at Mount Rainier.

One of the most Mount Rainier fun facts is that Walt Disney and his new wife, Lillian Disney, spent their honeymoon at Mount Rainier National Park.

The couple’s Pacific Northwest honeymoon was enjoyed at Mount Rainier, then the next day Walt had a tooth removed in Seattle!

While Disney hadn’t yet become famous while on his honeymoon, it was only three years after their marriage that Disney created the well-known cartoon character, Mickey Mouse!

What are some other fun facts about Mount Rainier National Park that you know? Share them in the comments!

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