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March 24th 2019

10 min read

Top 10 Things to do near Rainier - Spring Edition


By: David (RW Founder)


The following information was provided by Visit Rainier, the official site of Mount Rainier tourism. Definitely check them out for any Mount Rainier vacation, tourism, or travel information!

In no particular order, here are 10 Things to do near Mount Rainier in the Spring!

Celebrate National Parks Week

It’s a Presidentially proclaimed time to celebrate the diversity, beauty, and history found in our national park system. During this week each year in mid-April, entrance fees are waived for all visitors. Visit your national parks for free! The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open daily during this period, offering visitor information, food service, and gift shop. The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year-round offering overnight accommodations, dining, and a gift shop. During this time of year, the Carbon River area of the park is often snow free and provides a great opportunity for hikers and bicyclists.

Get ready to celebrate National Park Week 2019 from April 20 to 28! To kick off National Park Week, all entrance fees are waived on Saturday, April 20! There are also special days during the week to highlight the different ways you can enjoy your national parks:

  • April 20: National Junior Ranger Day & Entrance Fee-Free Day
  • April 21: Military & Veterans Recognition Day
  • April 22: Earth Day
  • April 23: Transportation Tuesday
  • April 24: Wild Wednesday
  • April 25: Throwback Thursday
  • April 26: Friendship Friday
  • April 27: Bark Ranger Day
  • April 28: Park Rx Day

For lodging located inside Mount Rainier National Park click here. 

Stretch winter with Spring skiing at Crystal Mountain

Ski Crystal Mountain Resort

Welcome the season of warmer temps and fewer layers…. For those skiers itching to get in a few more runs before the gear is stowed away for the season, the Mt. Rainier area is home to Crystal Mountain Resort, rated by SKIING magazine as the #7 ski resort in North America.

Crystal Mountain Resort has lessons on site, rental equipment, and on-site lodging dining and dining. 

Crystal Mountain Resort

33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd. Enumclaw, WA 98022

Phone | [360-663-3050](tel: 360-663-3050)

Crystal Mountain Resort Snapshot

Take a scenic drive

Scenic Drive

An incredible opportunity to experience the beauty surrounding Mt. Rainier, take a journey along the Chinook Byway to the north and along White Pass Scenic Byway to the south. These two nationally recognized byways offer striking views passing through national forests, along shining lakes, rumbling rivers and cascading waterfalls. Experience charming mountain communities, alpine country, state parks and agricultural land. Turnouts and overlooks along the way offer visitors the opportunity to take a moment to soak in the scenes and take a longer look at the striking wilderness which surrounds.

Explore Scenic Byway Drive Tours

Take the Crystal Mountain Gondola to the summit

Cruise over mountain meadows and babbling brooks on a ride up to Crystal Mountain from the comfort of a fully-enclosed gondola. Skiers and foot passengers can all take a ride to the Crystal Mountain summit for captivating mountain views, a delectable meal or to drop back into the vast terrain that plunges below the ridgeline. At the aptly named Summit House savor hearty soups, gourmet pizzas, pasta, fondue and fresh salads, in addition to daily specials. Scenic rides are offered throughout the year though be sure to check their operating hours before heading out to Crystal Mountain as the gondola does have brief seasonal closures and can close early or without notice when it’s stormy or too windy. On a clear day, the views of the Northwest’s most famous volcanic peaks are unbeatable.

View from the top of Crystal Mountain

The ride lasts 9 minutes and 39 seconds each way. The base is located at 4,400 feet and rises up to an elevation of 6,856 feet. The gondolas can transport up to 600 people hour and travels 800 feet per minute. The Mt. Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort reopens for the season June 18th, 2018 and will operate until mid-October. The gondolas are fully enclosed and wheelchair accessible. Socialized dogs on a leash are allowed to ride in the gondola spring-fall. Dogs are not allowed on the gondola during the ski season. Bikes are not allowed in the gondola. 

Father and son watch gondola

The gondolas accommodate up to 8-passengers. Soar above tall Evergreen trees and get an incredible view of the surrounding mountains. Travel almost 2,500 vertical feet to the summit where you will find amazing views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range.  The Summit House, Washington’s highest elevation restaurant, is a few steps away from the gondola.

Click [here for lodging](http://Enjoy a scenic ride on the 8-passenger Mt. Rainier Gondola! Watch from above as skiers and snowboarders fly down the mountain below you. Pass by tall Evergreen trees and get a birds eye view of the surrounding mountain peaks covered in snow. You’ll travel almost 2,500 vertical feet to the summit where you will find breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range. You’ll also be just a few short steps away from the Summit House, Washington’s highest elevation restaurant. Foot-passengers (non-skiers) are welcome to ride the gondola anytime during the winter. Skiers and snowboarders are fascinating creatures and don’t be surprised if you get to sit next to one on the ride up! Look like fun? Give skiing or snowboarding a try! We have everything you’ll need for your first day on the slopes. Remember to check the current conditions before planning your gondola ride on our Weather & Condtions page. Weather can change quickly and the gondola can close early or without notice when it’s windy or stormy.) near the gondola.

Take the Gondola to Crystal Mountain’s Summit

Admire the waterfalls

The waterfalls of Mt. Rainier are nothing short of spectacular and the snowmelt during spring offers the best opportunity to view the falls at their peak. Driving to Paradise and just a short walk from their respective parking areas will afford views of pretty Christine Falls and thundering Narada Falls. Near Paradise, take a day hike to Comet Falls or trek along the Paradise River Trail affording views of both Carter and Madcap Falls. Once at Paradise, a family-friendly walk from Paradise on the Edith Creek Trail will take you to Myrtle Falls and one of the most photographed vistas in the park.

Visit the Waterfalls of Mt. Rainier

Go Lowland Hiking

Photo taken at Inspiration Point courtesy Instagram User Shutterhold

By the time spring rolls around we are glad to see the snow melt. Though the snowy high country is sublime our hearts begin to yearn for that first long trill of a Varied Thrush, the pink flash of a salmonberry blossom, the blinding white blossoms of trilliums and at higher elevations, flowery constellations of yellow glacier lilies and white avalanche lilies.

Spring is bi-polar. Summer one minute, winter the next. Trails may be snow-free but are often muddy. Wear boots and gaiters and dress accordingly. Get an up-to-date weather forecast, check with the park before you go to make sure the trail you want to explore is open.

Be prepared for the unexpected any time of the year and enjoy our bountiful park.

Top 10 spring lowland hikes from Visit Rainier

Bike the Carbon River Road

Explore a unique ecosystem within the park – an inland temperate rainforest – and do it on the back of a bike. Although the Carbon River Entrance of the Park is the closest entrance to major population centers, it remains the least visiting corner of the park. And the Carbon River Road is one of the few places mountain bikes are allowed within the national park. Soon to be added are bike racks at the trailheads along the road allowing for the unique experience of bike and hike outings. And since the 5.0-mile Carbon River Road is virtually level, it’ll be perfect for children, adults towing children and folks looking for an easy bike ride.

Bike the Carbon River Road | Mountain Biking at Mt. Rainer

Meet the wildlife at Northwest Trek

Bison at Northwest Trek and Wildlife Park

Experience captivating Northwest wildlife. Along the beautiful, winding walking trails at Northwest Trek, view over 200 North American animals, representing over 30 species. The varied habitats of Northwest Trek create a scenic landscape with lakes, meadows, forests and streams. A fan favorite, bundle up for a 55-miniature tram ride viewing native animals grazing in fields, wandering in the forest, and quite possibly, right outside your seat. Whether you are peering out of the tram at bellowing bison or standing nose-to-nose with an otter, exciting wildlife encounters happen every day at Northwest Trek.

Northwest Trek Website

Catch a Trout at Mineral Lake

Touted as one of the best trout fishing lakes in Western Washington, Mineral Lake is no secret to many anglers. With over 100,000 fingerling rainbow trout planted each year, it’s no wonder why it’s regularly listed as one of the top picks by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife for the annual Lowland Lakes Opener in April. With Mt. Rainier as a most stellar backdrop, the picturesque scene in the foothills of the Cascades Mountains is worth the trip itself. Mineral Lake is located just miles outside the Nisqually Entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park.

Mineral Lake Snapshot

Go to Mineral Lake |  All Fishing

Take a Train ride through the foothills

All Aboard! Gain a new perspective of the Mount Rainier foothills on a vintage logging locomotive ride with the Mt. Rainier Railroad. Journey 18 miles along the countryside near the mountain and let the rhythm of the rails transport you back to the day when rail travel was king. Not to be confused with a luxurious rail line, this train offers a friendly and fun atmosphere, with plenty of room for children to walk around and see the sights. As the longest continuously operating steam train railroad in the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Rainier Railroad & Museum proudly preserves a colorful slice of America’s heritage. In addition to the Bunny Express holiday train, regular excursion rides begin Memorial Day Weekend.

Mt. Rainier Railroad & Museum

PHONE:  (360) 492-6000

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