Hardy visitors to Mount Rainier National Park come to climb and summit the 14,410-foot volcano that towers over the state of Washington. But climbing Mount Rainier—a technical ascent meant for experienced mountaineers—isn’t the only thing to do in this Northwest gem. You can hike to glacier-fed waterfalls, old fire lookout towers, high-alpine lakes, and through old-growth forests. Post up near either Nisqually or Stevens Canyon entrance, which, of the park’s four total gates, lead to the park’s most popular draws.
Stevens Canyon Entrance
The Stevens Canyon entrance in the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park is open from late May until early October. It offers easy access to the popular Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, a short hike through old-growth firs and cedars, as well as the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center and Ohanapecosh Campground. Take a scenic drive up the Stevens Canyon Road to spot the narrow slot canyon known as Box Canyon and Reflection Lakes, which show a mirrored image of Mount Rainier on the surface. Here’s where to post up.