"Mount Rainier" by NPS/Emily Brouwer Photo , public domain
Brochure of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
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Mount Rainier Mount Rainier National Park Washington National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest. John Muir A mountain of immeasurable inspiration, Mount Rainier is the center of the nation’s fifth national park. It is a place of discovery and of personal triumphs, where family traditions endure. Glaciers, massive rivers of ice up to 750 feet deep, flow down the rocky slopes. Yet, on the summit, steam escapes from deep within the mountain’s core, a reminder that it is still an active volcano. At 14,410 feet, the mountain is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range and the most glaciated peak in the continental United States. Basalt columns and other remnants of early eruptions and lava flows reveal Mount Rainier’s ancient geologic history. Above Mount Rainier, millions of stars illuminate the night sky. The park minimizes the use of artificial light. This preserves darkness, through which constellations and planets are remarkably visible. In spring, snow melts first in the foothills. Beneath the old growth forest, flowers bloom and ferns unfurl. Across the subalpine region, summer may only last two months. Adaptations that have taken centuries to develop prove crucial in a race for survival. Profuse wildflower displays and pollinating insects bring life to the meadows. Birds and mammals forage on the abundance before winter quickly returns. For thousands of years, Mount Rainier has been an important place for Pacific Northwest Indigenous people. Nearly two million people from around the world now visit Mount Rainier National Park each year. Entering the park is a step back in time—a portal into Mount Rainier National Historic Landmark District. Roads, buildings, and other structures were designed nearly one hundred years ago. Massive logs and round river boulders characterize early national park rustic architecture, which harmonizes with the park’s natural scenery. As global development increases, this mountain remains steadfast, a place where people can reconnect with what is important in their lives. Moving up Mount Rainier’s glaciers and lava ridges, their routes illuminated by headlamps, climbers travel steadily toward the summit under a star-filled sky (above). © JEFF BERKES Unforgettable Destinations Sunrise NPS / JASMINE DAVIS NPS / JOHN CHAO Carbon River © DANIEL WYKNENKO Ohanapecosh NPS / JOHN CHAO Paradise NPS Longmire Longmire is a year-round destination. Visit Paradise meadows when they are at their most spectacular. Camp, hike, and explore beneath towering old growth trees. Enjoy unsurpassed, panoramic views while hiking amid resplendent subalpine meadows. Capture the lush vegetation and giant old growth trees of the rainforest. Accessible year-round. Snowshoe or crosscountry ski during winter. Stroll the edge of a meadow where history meets nature. Day hike to expansive vistas. Step back in time; discover rustic park architecture along the Longmire Historic Walking Tour. Stay a night at the historic National Park Inn. From the porch, admire the sunset’s glow on the mountain. During summer, hike the maintained trails around meadows, streams, and waterfalls. Watch and listen for wildlife—bears, grouse, butterflies, marmots, and more. Explore exhibits at the visitor and climbing information centers. Rest a night or have a snack at the historic Paradise Inn. Grab a sled and head for Paradise’s winter snowplay area, set up a snow camp, ski, or snowboard. Old growth forest is the signature of Ohanapecosh. Ancient trees, wildlife, waterfalls, spring wildflowers, and fall mushrooms abound. The Ohanapecosh River—transparent green or blue depending on the light and your perspective— surrounds the Grove of the Patriarchs. Many day hikes begin at Ohanapecosh. Camp or picnic in the campground. Sunrise, the highest point in the park reachable by car, offers a panoramic view of Mount Rainier and surrounding peaks. Day hikes lead to glaciers, lakes, and meadows. Dig into geology at the visitor center. Discover the rustic architecture and history of Sunrise. Enjoy a snack at the day lodge. Camp nearby at White River Campground. Meander moist, moss-carpeted paths through temperate rainforest. Discover the dynamic forces of a glacial river. Mountain-bike a historic road. Spend a night in the backcountry. Visit Mowich Lake—the park’s largest and deepest lake. Camp near the lake or enjoy its serenity from a canoe. Fish the deep waters. Hike to subalpine meadows. Discoveries Await View from NPS / STEV E REDMAN Ricksecke rl a n d WonPOdSTOeRIN O Trail © NICK r Point M ow i c h Winter at Paradise N PS / MEL © DEBY DIXON IN DA SC Lake HMIT T the Patriarch Grove ofDTRE E NPS / CHRIS ROUN Black-tailed dee r © JEREMY SELL Mount Rainier from Tipsoo Lake Hike amid ancient trees and past waterfalls on the Eastside Trail. ns Box Canyon on Steve ad Ro on Cany NPS / STEVE REDMAN s M ount a NPS / JO HN CHAO Reflec tio NPS / DANIE n Lakes L KEEBLE Black bear R DONNA DANNEN © KARTHIKEYAN ERODE BACKGROUND PHOTO: NPS / CHRIS ROUNDTREE NPS / CHRIS ROUNDTREE Explore Wilderness Home to animals seen and unseen, Mount Rainier’s wilderness is an evolving landscape of forests, meadows, glaciers, and craters. Wilderness performs functions essential to life on Earth. Melting snow produces fresh water. Plants pump oxygen into the atmosphere. Protecting the mountain’s wild places, and the wildlife and the natural processes they support, will become ever more essential in our developing world. Beyond the roads and parking lots is wild land. Over 97 percent of the park is wilderness legally protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act—untrammeled, free from development; a place to recreate and find solitude. Meet the People People have been coming to Mount Rainier for more than 9,000 years. Archeological findings suggest that Native Americans hunted, gathered, and conducted spiritual and ceremonial activities on the mountain. Their descendants maintain a special connection with the mountain to the present day. Snowshoeing in the park (above). The park’s wilderness is habitat to wildlife such as this spotted owl (right). ABOVE: © JOHN T. STROTHER; RIGHT: NPS / KEITH BAGNALL In the late 1800s, miners, entrepreneurs, and tourists recognized the mountain’s potential to provide wealth and recreation. They came with the hope to prosper, to recreate, and simply to breathe the clear mountain air. in g o a t Inspired, mountain clubs, scientists, and communities successfully lobbied Congress to create Mount Rainier National Park in 1899. These projectile points, made 2,500 years ago, reveal a chapter of the park’s history. NPS Witness Change Though the mountain may convey a sense of permanence, Mount Rainier is anything but permanent. Ice and rock continually break away from the peak. Glaciers and rivers transport debris and water down the mountain, and often wreak havoc with roads and park buildings. Subalpine meadows, buried beneath deep snow most of the year, rapidly bloom once the snow melts. Animals must adapt to this ever-changing environment, migrate, or die. As Earth’s temperature rises, it is unclear how such a change will affect the mountain’s dynamic forces, its plants, animals, or ourselves. ✩GPO:20xx—xxx-xxx/xxxxx Printed on recycled paper. Wildlife habitat and ecosystems shift with changes in climate. ABOVE: © JAY THOMPSON; RIGHT: © THORSTEN SCHEUERMANN