Best Hikes Mt Rainier: 23 Easy, Moderate + Hard Trails

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Best hikes in Mt Rainier National Park by Where Are Those Morgans hiking blog stunning view of a hiker on a bridge with green meadows leading to snow capped volcano

Mount Rainier National Park has many picturesque hikes spread across five regions called Paradise, Sunrise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh and Carbon River/Mowich. The top rated hikes in Mt Rainier include Skyline Loop, Mt Fremont and Tolmie Peak, but there are many more off the beaten path trails to enjoy.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the best hikes in Mt Rainier from easy to hard based entirely on our own experiences.

Our Mount Rainier Hiking Experience

Couple standing together at the summit of Skyline Loop Trail in Mt Rainier with far reaching views over mountain peaks on a clear day
Mark and Kristen at the summit of Skyline Loop Trail

We lived on the shores of Lake Washington for 6 months in the summer of 2021 during that unprecedented heat dome when temperatures reached 120F. All through the summer we hiked in North Cascades, Olympic, Mt Rainier and everywhere in between.

But there’s just something so special about Mt Rainier. We found ourselves gravitating back to the slopes and foothills of the skyline dominating stratovolcano time and time again. Before we knew it, we’d cracked most of the popular hikes in each region of the national park. Read more about us.

Mt Rainier Hiking Regions

Map showing regions of mt rainier national park broken up into sunrise ohanapecosh paradise longmire and carbon river
Mt Rainier hiking regions map

There are 5 major hiking regions in Mt Rainier National Park:

  • 1. Sunrise
  • 2. Ohanapecosh
  • 3. Paradise
  • 4. Longmire
  • 5. Carbon River

Hiking Tip: The top rated hikes in Mount Rainier are spread out across all 5 regions, which encircle the volcano. You should plan for at least 2 days if you want to tick off the best hikes in each region.

Mt Fremont Fire Lookout wide angle photo with rocks in foreground and a spectacular view to the horizon
Mt Fremont Lookout in the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier

1. Sunrise

Sunrise is the second most popular area for hiking in Mt Rainier National Park. At 6,400 ft elevation, it’s the highest part of the park you can drive to, and it hosts hikes like Mt Fremont and Burroughs Mountain. Sunrise is also home to some of the most stunning displays of wildflowers in July and August.

2. Ohanapecosh

Ohanapecosh is sandwiched between the two most heavily trafficked areas of Paradise and Sunrise, so it’s always busy. Some of the popular family friendly hikes in Mt Rainier such as Silver Falls and Grove of the Patriarchs begin close to Stevens Canyon entrance station.

3. Paradise

Paradise is the most popular place to hike in Mt Rainier National Park. You’ll find more vibrant wildflowers, the Paradise Inn and the Skyline Loop Trail, which is by far the most famous hike in the park. We even saw skiers pouring down the mountainside here in June.

4. Longmire

Longmire is home to the most photogenic waterfall hikes in Mt Rainier such as Comet Falls and Narada Falls. It’s also the first place you’ll get to after entering the park through the heavily trafficked Nisqually entrance which serves Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.

5. Carbon River

Carbon River (or Mowich Lake) is the closest region to Seattle and it has two amazing hikes called Tolmie Peak and Spray Park, but it’s the least visited region of Mt Rainier because it can only be accessed by a truly dreadful 17-mile road full of pot holes.

The Wonderland Trail

Hiker walking on path flanked by lush green vegetation and mountains in the distance
Kristen hiking through lush green vegetation in Mt Rainier

In this guide we’re going to show you the best day hikes in Mount Rainier. But you should seriously consider hiking the 93 miles long Wonderland Trail if you’re a very strong hiker with 10-14 days available and you’re looking for the ultimate Mt Rainier experience.

Mt Rainier Hiking Trails Map

Click or touch the map of Mt Rainier below to activate.

Zoom in and out, move around the map and familiarize yourself with the trailhead locations of each hike you’ll find in this guide.

Map Key:

  • Red – Sunrise Hikes
  • Yellow – Ohanapecosh Hikes
  • Blue – Paradise Hikes
  • Orange – Longmire Hikes
  • Purple – Mowich Lake Hikes

Hiking Tip: Carbon River is completely isolated from the other Mt Rainier’s regions, so you’ll need to plan your time well if you want to access the hikes in this area.

Trail marker with distances surrounded by green vegetation and colorful flowers
Skyline Trail hiking distances

Best Easy Hikes In Mt Rainier

Easy hikes in Mount Rainier National Park give you the chance to appreciate some of its beauty without breaking into too much of a sweat. Our favorites are Myrtle Falls Trail and Tipsoo Lake Trail because they lead to postcard-perfect viewpoints.

Below you’ll find the easiest hikes in Mt Rainier that are perfect for beginners and the whole family.

1. Myrtle Falls via Skyline Trail

Myrtle Falls waterfall is an easy and accessible hike with stunning viewpoint on the skyline trail best for young kids and those who want a quick hike in paradise mt rainier
Mt Rainier with Myrtle Falls in the foreground
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Paradise parking lot
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 0.8 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 170 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Myrtle Falls Trail is easy, flat and accessible. It leads to a picturesque viewpoint over a waterfall flanked by emerald green trees and meadows leading directly to Mount Rainier. If you’re a beginner hiker or you just want a taste of the famous Skyline Trail, you should hike to Myrtle Falls.

2. Nisqually Vista Trail

Kristen looking at mt rainier through a gap on nisqually vista hiking trail easy accessible trail for families and hikers of all abilities
Kristen enjoying the view of Mt Rainier from Nisqually Vista
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Nisqually Vista parking lot
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 1.1 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Nisqually Vista Trail is short, paved and free of overcrowding. You’ll walk through beautiful wildflower meadows and plenty of lovely photo spots to a fantastic Mt Rainier viewpoint. It’s not the most exciting hike in the park, but it’s family friendly and you won’t break into a sweat.

3. Trail Of The Shadows

Wildflowers in bloom with sun shining through dense trees
Wildflowers in Mt Rainier National Park
  • Region: Longmire
  • Trailhead: Longmire parking lot
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 0.7 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 30 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Trail of the Shadows is a gentle forested hike with educational boards explaining the localized flora and fauna. It’s mostly accessible but does have some steeper gradients and gravel track sections. This one is best for avoiding the crowds or if you’re visiting Mt Rainier with younger kids.

4. Tipsoo Lake Loop Trail

Tipsoo Lake Trail is a family friendly Mt Rainier hike with stunning meadows wildflowers and reflection in lake
Mt Rainier reflecting in Tipsoo Lake at sunrise
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Tipsoo Lake parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 0.8 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 40 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Tipsoo Lake Trail is a one of the best bang for your buck hikes in Mt Rainier because it’s easy, short and exceptionally photogenic. We walked around Tipsoo Lake and climbed a shallow bank for a stunning view of wildflowers, the lake and Mount Rainier at sunrise. The bugs are bad, but it’s well worth it!

5. Sunrise Nature Trail

Sunrise nature trail sign with hiking distances in an open meadow
Trail signs near Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 350 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Sunrise Nature Trail is the perfect introductory hike in the Sunrise region. The loop is perfect for families with younger kids or beginner hikers to see wildflowers in bloom and enjoy higher elevation views over Mt Rainier.

6. Grove Of The Patriarchs Nature Trail

Kristen standing looking up at tall trees on the grove of the patriarchs hiking trail in ohanapecosh mt rainier national park
Kristen hiking Grove of the Patriarchs Trail in Mount Rainier
  • Region: Ohanapecosh
  • Trailhead: Stevens Canyon entrance
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 1.3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back or loop
  • Elevation Gain: 50 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail is one of the best hikes in Mt Rainier for families with younger kids. The easy path leads through old growth forest filled with gigantic Douglas Fir and Big Cedar trees. You can walk across a wooden suspension bridge to an island but it’s closed as of late 2023.

7. Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge Trail

Frozen Lake on Sourdough Ridge Trail at the crossroads of Burroughs and Mt Fremont
The still snowy Frozen Lake in July
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back or loop
  • Elevation Gain: 550 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Frozen Lake is located at a trail crossroads between Sunrise visitor center and the more difficult trails leading to Mt Fremont or Burroughs Mountain. It’s slightly harder to reach but it’s the perfect landmark to use as a turnaround point if you want closer up views of Mount Rainier without taking on too much.

Best Moderate Hikes In Mt Rainier

The quality of hiking trails in Mt Rainier National Park improves dramatically when you step up the difficulty from easy to moderate. Our favorites include Bench and Snow Lake Trail, Naches Peak Loop Trail, Mt Fremont Trail, Tolmie Peak Trail and Spray Park Trail.

Below you’ll find the best moderately difficult day hikes in Mt Rainier for first time visitors to the park.

8. Bench and Snow Lake Trail

bench and snow lake trail is one of the best short hikes in mt rainier with undulating elevation gain and loss two lakes and wildflower meadows kristen crossing wooden bridge in gorgeous setting
Kristen crossing a log on the scenic Bench and Snow Lake Trail
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Stevens Canyon Road
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 2.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 700 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Bench and Snow Lake Trail is a fun, quiet and picturesque hike. The undulating trail leads to Bench Lake which has a stunning Mt Rainier reflection on calm days, and Snow Lake which is popular for swimming and is partly encircled by towering cliffs below Unicorn Peak. It’s buggy but we really like this one.

Further Reading: How to hike Bench and Snow Lake Trail

9. Naches Peak Loop Trail

naches peak loop is one of the best short hikes in mount rainier starburst with the sun overlooking a lake with dusty trail at dusk in Washington
Lake on the stunning Naches Peak Loop Trail
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Naches Peak parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 3.3 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Naches Peak Loop Trail is one of our favorite hikes in Mt Rainier National Park. Hiking clockwise, you’ll start on a scenic stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail before turning to hike directly towards Mount Rainier with unobstructed views. It’s a stunning hike and it’s even better at sunrise or sunset.

Further Reading: How to hike Naches Peak Loop Trail

10. Narada Falls Trail

Wide waterfall crashing into a ravine with a colorful rainbow at the bottom
  • Region: Longmire
  • Trailhead: Paradise parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 2.4 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 860 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails

Narada Falls is a powerful 200 ft tall waterfall that can be reached in many ways. You can see 150 ft of the waterfall from its nearby parking lot, you can hike 0.2 miles roundtrip from the parking lot to the base of the waterfall or you can hike 2.4 miles roundtrip from Paradise via Lower Lake Trail.

11. Silver Falls Loop Trail

Silver falls waterfall in mt rainier easy to moderate hike with beautiful scenery
Powerful Silver Falls waterfall in Ohanapecosh
  • Region: Ohanapecosh
  • Trailhead: Ohanapecosh Visitor Center
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 700 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Silver Falls Loop Trail is a fantastic Mount Rainier hike for groups, couples or families who have energetic kids. It’s one of the most popular trails in the national park and after 5 visits we can tell you that parking here can be a real issue, so plan to hike this one earlier or later in the day.

12. Pinnacle Peak Trail

Far reaching view of a volcano, lake and forest on a clear day
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Reflection Lake
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Pinnacle Peak Trail is one of the best hidden gem hikes in Mt Rainier. The short but steep hike leads to one of the best viewpoints in the entire national park and it’s a comparatively quiet trail. Our favorite hikes in Mt Rainier end with views of the volcano, and they don’t come much better than this one.

13. Comet Falls Trail

Narrow waterfall at the end of a creek on a misty day
  • Region: Longmire
  • Trailhead: Comet Falls parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 3.4 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,200 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Comet Falls Trail is a must hike if you love waterfalls. This hugely popular trail takes you beyond the top of Christine Falls, across logs and boulders, around switchbacks and eventually leads to the powerful Comet Falls. It’s a fun hike with huge reward, but parking can be an issue.

14. Panorama Point via Skyline Trail

Kristen arms stretched at panorama point on skyline trail hike in mt rainier one of the best viewpoints in the park
Kristen soaking up the amazing views from Panorama Point
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Paradise parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 4.1 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,250 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Panorama Point Trail is the best moderately difficult way you can hike a portion of Skyline Trail and experience some of its amazing views. By hiking directly to Panorama Point and back down you’ll cut out a lot of distance and difficulty but still get far reaching views over Washington’s mountain peaks.

15. Mt Fremont Lookout Trail

Mt Fremont Fire Lookout Tower at the summit of an amazing hike overlooking mt Rainier volcano Kristen standing on wooden structure alone
Kristen at the top of Mt Fremont Lookout Tower
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 5.7 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Mt Fremont Lookout Trail is among the most popular hikes in Mt Rainier because it has incredible 360 degree views from a high elevation fire lookout tower. The fun, engaging and picturesque hike is definitely one of our favorites in the park, and it’s one you absolutely shouldn’t miss when you visit.

Further Reading: How to hike Mt Fremont fire lookout trail

16. Rampart Ridge Loop Trail

View over Longmire region of Mt Rainier national park from a hike
River running through the Longmire region of Mt Rainier
  • Region: Longmire
  • Trailhead: Longmire parking lot
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 4.6 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,350 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Rampart Ridge Loop Trail is a quieter hike leading through old growth forest to Mt Rainier views and the remains of a lava flow from a time when the volcano erupted. It begins on the southwest side of Trail of the Shadows, gains elevation on switchbacks and eventually returns on Wonderland Trail.

17. Glacier Basin Trail

Meadows and trees at the base of a dry basin with cliffs and snow circling above
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: White River Road
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 7+ miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft +
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Glacier Basin Trail follows a river fork until it reaches a glacier basin close to the northeast slopes of Mount Rainier. It’s incredibly picturesque throughout but the best part of this hike is a spur trail leading to views over Emmons Glacier, the largest ice sheet in Mt Rainier and the contiguous 48 states.

18. Tolmie Peak Lookout Trail

Hiker sat in the corner of a fire lookout tower with views over a volcano in the distance on a clear day
Mark relaxing at Tolmie Peak Lookout Tower
  • Region: Carbon River
  • Trailhead: Mowich Lake
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 7 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Tolmie Peak Trail is another of our favorite day hikes in Mt Rainier National Park. You’ll hike a diverse and scenic trail which leads to a fire lookout tower with superb views over Eunice Lake and Mount Rainier. It’s better later in the afternoon so you’re not staring straight into the sun.

Further Reading: How to hike Tolmie Peak fire lookout trail

19. Spray Park Trail

Black bear walking around eating berries in spray park hard switchbacks hike with amazing meadows summit
Black Bear eating berries on Spray Park Trail in Mt Rainier
  • Region: Carbon River
  • Trailhead: Mowich Lake
  • Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Distance: 6-8 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,700 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Spray Park Trail is a true hidden gem hike in Mount Rainier. It’s much quieter than nearby Tolmie Peak, and it leads to the awesome Spray Falls waterfall as well as a number of beautiful meadows filled with wildflowers. We once saw a black bear eating berries just 30 ft from the trail.

Further Reading: How to hike Spray Park Trail

Best Hard Hikes In Mt Rainier

The hardest hikes in Mt Rainier should only be attempted by strong and experienced hikers because they’re challenging and exposed. Our favorite is the famous Skyline Loop Trail, but we also loved hiking Burroughs Mountain Loop Trail.

Below you’ll find the best hard hikes in Mt Rainier.

20. Skyline Loop Trail

Most popular and best hike in mt rainier national park skyline trail blue wildflower meadows with rainier lit up by sunrise light
Gorgeous blue wildflowers on the slopes of Skyline Loop Trail
  • Region: Paradise
  • Trailhead: Paradise parking
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,700 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Skyline Loop Trail is the star attraction of hiking at Mt Rainier National Park. It’s tough, diverse and unbelievably picturesque with far reaching views over volcanoes like Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and Mt Hood from the summit. The trail is always busy so our advice is to begin hiking as early as possible.

By setting off as daylight broke and hiking anti-clockwise, we had the whole trail to ourselves until we reached the summit ridge line. It was an amazing experience for us, and it’s the one hike you should prioritize in Mt Rainier.

Further Reading: How to hike Skyline Loop Trail

21. Burroughs Mountain Loop Trail

Burroughs Mountain trail from afar on Mt Fremont trail both amazing hikes
View over Burroughs Mountain Trail from Mt Fremont
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: Sunrise Visitor Center
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 4.7, 7.0 or 9.2 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back or loop
  • Elevation Gain: Up to 2,500 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Burroughs Mountain Loop Trail is another incredibly popular hike in Sunrise. You can hike to First, Second or Third Burroughs, each step is harder as you get closer to Mount Rainier. Stronger hikers often combine Burroughs Mountain with Mt Fremont for two major hikes in one go.

22. Summerland Trail to Panhandle Gap

Hiking trail leading along ridge lines changing in terrain on a clear day
  • Region: Sunrise
  • Trailhead: White River Road
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 10.5 miles+ roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,900 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Summerland Trail to Panhandle Gap is a long and challenging but extremely popular Mount Rainier day hike. You’ll hike alongside Fryingpan Creek and through Summerland Meadows which has stunning wildflowers in season. If you have energy left, climb to Panhandle Gap for incredible views.

23. Shriner Peak Lookout Trail

Hiker at the top of Mt Fremont Lookout Tower enjoying spectacular distant views to the horizon
Kristen enjoying the amazing hiking in Mount Rainier
  • Region: Ohanapecosh
  • Trailhead: WA-123 roadside
  • Trail Difficulty: Hard
  • Trail Distance: 8.5 miles roundtrip
  • Type of Trail: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 3,500 ft
  • Recent Comments: All Trails / WTA

Shriner Peak Lookout Trail is the perfect hike for very strong hikers looking to get off the beaten path in Mount Rainier. The trail is hard and has a huge elevation gain, but it leads to a fire lookout tower and you’ll barely see another soul. We’ll add this to our list for next time!

3 Day Mount Rainier Hiking Example Itinerary

Snow capped mountain behind a lake and trees
Mt Rainier from Reflection Lake in Paradise

You know the best easy, moderate and hard trails in each of the 5 regions in Mt Rainier. But how do you piece the hikes together into an efficient itinerary?

After 5 long weekends hiking in Mount Rainier, here’s how we think strong hikers should plan an action packed 3 days ticking off the best trails in the park.

Carbon River – Day 1

  • Early start and drive to Mowich Lake
  • Hike Spray Park as far as the third or fourth meadow
  • Eat a packed lunch in the parking lot (no food can be purchased here)
  • Hike Tolmie Peak in the afternoon for best light
  • Drive to Ashford or Longmire and check into a hotel

Longmire, Paradise and Ohanapecosh – Day 2

  • Very early start to hike Comet Falls Trail
  • Stop at Narada Falls parking lot and walk down to the viewpoint quickly
  • Drive to Paradise and hike Skyline Trail
  • Walk around Nisqually Vista
  • Hike Bench and Snow Lakes
  • Drive down Stevens Canyon road
  • Hike either Silver Falls Loop or Grove of the Patriarchs
  • Sleep in Ohanapecosh or Packwood

Sunrise – Day 3

  • Drive to Chinook Pass
  • Hike Naches Peak Loop Trail to Tipsoo Lake at dawn
  • Drive up to Sunrise visitor center
  • Hike Burroughs Mountain Loop
  • Then directly join the trail to Mt Fremont Lookout
  • Leave the park via Enumclaw

This is just an example and it should be used as a reference to help you create the perfect Mount Rainier hiking itinerary for your goals.

Hiking Tip: If you only have 2 days in Mt Rainier, our advice would be to cut the first day from our example itinerary because Mowich Lake is much harder to access.

Best Time To Hike In Mt Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park in June with Tipsoo Lake covered in snow
Tipsoo Lake at Chinook Pass Mt Rainier covered in snow in June

The best time of year to hike in Mount Rainier National Park is between the end of July and the end of September because the trails will be free of snow. But you should keep an eye on weather conditions in June and October because you might be able to hike certain trails when the park is much quieter.

We lived in Washington State between April and October, and despite a record breaking heat dome we couldn’t hike Skyline Trail until the middle of July. We tried in June and the trail was covered in 10 ft of snow.

Mt Rainier is one of the most popular US national parks, so the short hiking season means it’s always busy in the park. Our advice is to avoid holiday weekends at all costs, and try to plan your trip for weekdays if possible.

Mt Rainier Hiking Tips

Hiker on a snowy trail with huge volcano behind
Kristen on the bottom section of Skyline Trail covered in snow

Here are some of our top tips for hiking in Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Always check live road conditions before visiting the park
  • Certain roads close at the beginning of November for winter
  • Avoid hiking between 12:00pm to 3:00pm on excessively hot days
  • Plan your hikes for early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds
  • Group your hikes together by region to maximize efficiency
  • Always have a backup hike in case parking is full at your first choice
  • You can use your America the Beautiful Pass for entry to the park
  • Pack food, snacks, water and electrolyte drinks for lunches

Hiking Apps

Hiker on a dusty trail with drop offs and mountain views
Kristen hiking the Mt Fremont ridge

Do you use any of the best hiking apps to download trail maps so you can track your live location throughout your hike, even when you’re offline?

We use All Trails to read recent comments before hiking a new trail, but we use Gaia GPS Premium to download offline maps and track our hikes. In Mt Rainier, you can use offline maps to make sure you’re on the right trails and we have an exclusive 20% discount link for our readers to use with Gaia GPS.

In Conclusion

Striking views from a hiking trail joined to the Pacific Crest Trail in Mt Rainier national park washington
Stunning views from Naches Peak Loop Trail in Mount Rainier

Mt Rainier is one of the most popular US national parks for hiking. There are lots of excellent trails for beginners and experienced hikers. Skyline Loop, Mount Fremont and Tolmie Peak are the three best hikes in Mt Rainier according to All Trails.

We have to agree with the thousands of hikers who ranked the top 3 trails. And we would add Naches Peak Loop and Spray Park to round off our personal top 5 hikes in Mount Rainier. It’s one of Kristen’s favorite places in America, and we’ll definitely be back for more hiking!

More Washington Hikes

More US Hikes

Want more Washington content? Head to our Washington Travel Guides to explore National Parks, popular road trips and best things to do around Seattle.


We hope this list of the best hikes in Mt Rainier National Park helps with planning your visit to Washington State!

Please let us know if you have any questions about the hikes in Mt Rainier or planning your visit in the comments below.

Happy Hiking,

Mark and Kristen

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