Mount Rainier Sunrise Visitor Center
The Chinook Pass Scenic Byway traverses the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, a true Washington wonderland. Just 15 miles off the byway, via the White River entrance (a $15 fee per car is required), is the scenic drive to the park’s Sunrise Visitor Center, the mountain’s highest elevation (6,400 feet) accessible by car.
The view of Mount Rainier from Sunrise is powerful. The mountain is no longer a distant icon; it’s a hulking presence (and a technically active volcano). At Sunrise, you stand on the mountain’s flanks. Learn more, and prepare to explore the subalpine terrain, at the Sunrise Visitor Center (open daily from early July to early October), which also offers guided walks.
One of the great pleasures of Sunrise is the availability of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, all showcasing natural glories and leading to scenic overlooks.
The Silver Forest Trail is a short, family-friendly, 1-mile hike featuring interpretive exhibits. The Emmons Vista Trail is also terrific for kids; a 1-mile round-trip leads to great views of Mount Rainier and the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the lower 48 states.
Fremont Lookout is a longer trail, a 5.5-mile round trip hike, through meadowland and over crags, that leads to a spot where hikers can actually see Seattle’s Space Needle with binoculars. Grand Park, a 13-mile round trip, reveals a canyon that was filled in with lava many millennia ago. Look for a small herd of resident elk on this hike.
Phone: (360) 663-2425
Website: VISIT WEBSITE