Weekend Camping: Mount Rainier National Park

With over 260 miles of hiking trails, Mount Rainier National Park offers campers plenty of ways to keep active. Mount Rainier has five main campgrounds located within park boundaries. The largest campground, Ohanapecosh, is located on the southeast side of the park in beautiful old-growth forest along the Ohanapecosh River.  Although there are no showers or RV hookups, this site has running water and flushable toilets.

After setting up camp Friday evening, you might want to stretch your legs with a quick walk to the Ohanapecosh hot springs (don’t get too excited – you can’t soak in these hot springs) located behind the visitor’s center. Along the path you’ll encounter numerous interpretive signs providing you with a history of the area. This trail is short enough for even the youngest hikers. For a longer hike check out the Silver Falls Loop Trail. Access the trailhead from Loop B of the Ohanapecosh campground. This three-mile trail through old-growth forest is popular with families, and a great way to spend Saturday morning before driving The Road to Paradise loop. This scenic route will take you past the picturesque Christine Falls and the Ricksecker Point Road, which offers views of Mount Rainer and the falls.

The Glacier Basin Trail, located within the White River Campground (northeast corner of the park), is also a popular trail. This uphill climb rewards hikers with wildflower meadows and views of the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous states. Sitting in a car for the return trip home is a lot more bearable after a seven-mile hike.

For the experienced mountaineer, Mt. Rainier provides a challenging climb with rewarding views. Check out this article by Peter Williams for more information about climbing Mt. Rainier.

As Mt. Rainier is a national park, be sure to reserve your campground (Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh only) ahead of time. Sites fill up fast, and it can be hard to find a spot if you don’t reserve one. For more information on Mount Rainier National Park visit https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm. //

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