Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Mount Rainier National Park
Q:When was the park established?
Congress established Mount Rainier National Park on March 2, 1899, reaffirming the nation's intent to set aside certain areas of outstanding scenic and scientific value for the enjoyment of present and future generations. It is America's fifth oldest national park, after Yellowstone (established in 1872), and Yosemite, General Grant (now part of Kings Canyon), and Sequoia (all established in 1890).
Q:How big is the park?
Mount Rainier National Park encompasses 235,625.08 acres or 365 square miles. Of that amount, 228,480 acres (97% of the park) has been designated by Congress as Wilderness. The park's National Historic Landmark District includes 2.7% of the park. The park has 240 miles of maintained trails and 147 miles of roads.
Q:How many people visit the park each year?
Generally, 1.5 - 2 million people visit Mount Rainier each year, In 1999, the park had 1,764,091 visitors.
Q:Is the park open all year?
Yes, but some areas of the park, including Sunrise, White River, Ohanapecosh, SRs 410 and 123, and the Stevens Canyon Road close for the season in mid-October or early-November and do not reopen until summer. Longmire is open all year. The road from Longmire to Paradise is generally open on winter days, although it is closed and gated at Longmire every evening and anytime snow, ice, or potential avalanches make travel to Paradise unsafe.
The Longmire Museum is open year-round. The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open weekends and holidays in the winter and daily from early May through early October. The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year-round. The Paradise Inn is open from mid-May to October only.
Q:How high is Mount Rainier?
The official measurement is 14,410 ft. above sea level.
Q:How much snow and ice is on Mount Rainier?
Over 34 square miles of permanent ice and snow cover Mount Rainier. Of all the glaciers in the contiguous U.S., Mount Rainier's Emmons Glacier has the largest surface area (4.3 square miles). Carbon Glacier is the longest (5.7 miles), thickest (700 feet), and has the lowest terminus elevation (3,500 feet) in the contiguous U.S.
Q:What's the weather like?
Weather patterns at Mount Rainier are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, elevation, and latitude. The climate is generally cool and rainy, with summer highs in the 60s and 70s. While July and August are the sunniest months of the year, rain is possible any day, and very likely in spring, fall, and winter.
Q:Is gas available in the park?
Gas is NOT available in the park, however, there are gas stations in nearby communities. Make sure you have plenty of gas before you begin your exploration of the park!
Q:When will the wildflowers peak?
The "peak" bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. However, by mid-July, many flowers will be blooming in most years, and by the first of August, the meadows should be very impressive. Frost can occur by late August, but even after light frosts the meadows continue to be very beautiful, thanks to changing leaf colors and seed pod development that take the place of colorful blossoms.