Seattle Day Trip to Mount Rainier National Park

July 18, 2013

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

Watching the sunrise at Sunrise Point, Mount Rainier National Park

My niece, who is visiting from Israel, wanted to see some of our country’s national parks, so that was all the excuse I needed to made a day trip from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park.  We were on the road at 3:00 a.m. so that we could be at Sunrise Point in time for sunrise at 5:22 a.m.  It was worth the early start.  Sunrise, at 6400 feet, is the highest point reachable by car in the park.  Mount Rainier with elevation 14,409 feet, looms majestically and dominates all views at this point.

The cascading Cascade Mountains

The cascading Cascade Mountains

IMG_3316

I simply loved the cascading shades of blue vanishing to white on the most distant peaks of the Cascade Mountains.  It was easy to see why the Cascade Range got its name, but when I read more about it, I was surprised that neither the explorer Vancouver nor Lewis and Clark called these peaks “Cascades.”  The first reference to Cascade Range came in the writings of botanist David Douglas.

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Landscape at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the apline meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

Wildfowers in the alpine meadows at Sunrise on Mount Rainier

We didn’t do much exploring on the trails at Sunrise because they were still covered with snow, but the meadows were full of wildflowers.  I will share more photos of the wildflowers in tomorrow’s post.

Melting snowbank

Melting snow bank

IMG_3374

IMG_3381

IMG_3341

The trails along the Naches Peak loop were also blocked by patches of snow, so my plans to take my niece on this hike were thwarted.  We salvaged the day by indulging instead in a touristy trip up a gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort.  I had never taken the time to do this before, and it was fun.  The views from the summit were stunning.  We could see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens, and, of course, Mount Rainier.  Altogether a wonderful day trip.

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

The gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

First vistas as you exit the gondola at the summit

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

The gondola rode higher than the tree tops!

View with Mount Adams

View with Mount Adams

Wildlife sighting!  A chipmunk.

Wildlife sighting! A chipmunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to “Seattle Day Trip to Mount Rainier National Park”

  1. Judy Says:

    I love the pictures of the cascading Cascade Mountains–I have never been that far north to see them. Just beautiful!!

  2. ebbtide Says:

    I’ve really got to get off my butt and get down there one of these days. Beautiful shots!

  3. camilla wells paynter Says:

    I’m with Sarah! I used to hike there all the time, but hardly ever make the 2-hour drive these days. Your photos make me want to go! The purple pollen on the treetops! Who knew? I’m impressed with your 3:00 am departure time. Staying overnight is the only way I will see sunrise at Sunrise. 🙂

  4. napperscompanion Says:

    Stunning photos. Thank you. Peace, John


  5. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos!


  6. […] Seattle Day Trip to Mount Rainier National Park, July 18, 2013 […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: