Summer Mount Rainier Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days to 4 Days in Mt. Rainier National Park

Plan to spend 3 to 4 days in Mount Rainier National Park in the summer? This Mount Rainier itinerary shows you the best viewpoints, hikes, waterfalls and other things to do for 3 to 4 days. You will also find practical tips and information to plan your Mt. Rainier itinerary.

Mount Rainier pretty much show up in almost all postcards of Seattle. It is the most popular national park to visit if you are in Seattle and for good reasons.

Mt. Rainier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with world class hiking trails that can be done by anyone, regardless of their hiking ability. But hiking is not the only thing to do at Mt. Rainier, even if you don’t hike, there are plenty of things to do in Mt. Rainier, such as lakes, waterfalls, viewpoints and a gondola.

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the United States, having been established in 1899. Mt. Rainier itself is the highest peak in the Cascade range, with its peak at 14410 feet. As the name implies, Mount Rainier stands at the center of Mount Rainier National Park.

Almost everywhere you go in Mt. Rainier National Park, you will have an incredible view of Mt. Rainier in all its glory. I mean even waterfalls and lakes that require no hiking have Mt. Rainier in its background.

But that’s not all, since Mt. Rainier National Park is quite big, there are various parts of the park with different climate, flora, and scenery, making you feel like you are not just visiting one but many different places.

This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pinterest Pin: 3 day to 4 day Mount Rainier National Park Summery itinerary

Where is Mount Rainier National Park?

The closest metropolitan to Mount Rainier National Park is Seattle. Located southeast of Seattle, Mt. Rainier is about 2.5 hours drive from downtown Seattle (about 2 hours drive from Seattle Tacoma International Airport).

If you are flying into Seattle Tacoma airport, you should rent a car (SUV is the best type) to drive to Mount Rainier National Park. Check out Kayak for the cheapest flight tickets or you may simply use the search form below.

Different Areas of Mt. Rainier National Park

Since Mount Rainier National Park is pretty big, it is divided into 5 distinct regions.

Mt. Rainier National Park Map

Carbon River & Mowich Lake

Mowich Lake at Tolmie Peak hike in Mount Rainier
Mowich Lake

Carbon River & Mowich Lake is the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park.

The most famous attractions in Carbon River & Mowich Lakes include Spray Park, Carbon Glacier, Mowich Lake, Chenuis Falls.

The most famous hiking trails at Carbon River & Mowich Lake include Tolmie Peak, Green Lake, Carbon Glacier Trail, and Carbon River Rainforest Nature Trail. I highly suggest adding Carbon River & Mowich Lake to your 3 day Mount Rainier itinerary.

Paradise (most popular – reservation needed)

Wild flowers in Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park

Paradise is one of the most popular areas to visit in Mt. Rainier National Park and you bet it’s on every itinerary for Mount Rainier. It is located directly south of Mount Rainier, with amazing views of glaciers all around the mountain. As the name implies, the Paradise area of Mount Rainer National Park is heavenly and beautiful, with amazing wild flowers in the summer.

The most popular attractions in Paradise include Martha Falls, Stevens Canyon, Reflection Lake, Inspiration Point, Paradise Inn (lodging and restaurant), Nisqually Glacier, Paradise Meadows (with wild flowers), Narada Falls and Ricksecker Point Viewpoints.

The most popular hiking trails in Paradise include Skyline Trail, Alta Vista Trail (part of Skyline Trail), Nisqually Vista Trail (very easy), Snow Lake/ Bench Lake Trail, Pinnacle Peak Trail, etc.

From May 24 to September 2 (between 7am to 3pm), you need to make a $2 timed entry reservation to enter Paradise.

Sunrise (most popular – reservation needed)

Tipsoo Lake at Sunrise in Mt. Rainier
Tipsoo Lake in Sunrise

Located in the northwestern part of Mount National Park Park, Sunrise is another extremely popular and most visited area in Mt. Rainier, so we will be adding this to our summer Mount Rainier itinerary as well.

The most visited places in Sunrise include Sunrise Point, the highest point that can be reached by car in Mt. Rainier National Park. Tipsoo Lake is known for its wild flowers in the summer, so as you can imagine there are a lot of visitors there as well.

The most popular hiking trails in Sunrise (also known as White River Area) are: Borroughs Mountain, Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout Trail, Naches Peak Trail, Grand Park Trail, Glacier Basin Trail, Crystal Lakes Trail, etc.

From July 3 to Sep 2 (between 7am to 3pm), you need to make a timed entry reservation to enter Sunrise (costs $2).


Longmire area is located near Paradise, at the most southwestern corner of Mt. Rainier National Park. You would be using the Nisqually Entrance to enter Longmire.

Christine Falls, Carter Falls, Comet Falls, Lake George and Aurora Lake are all located in Longmire. Some of these waterfalls have a hiking trail leading up to it.

I always confuse Paradise and Longmire because the waterfalls are actually located not too far from Paradise, so you can definitely visit them together during your 4 days in Mt. Rainier National Park.


bridge of grove of the patriarchs
Grove of the Patriarch

Ohanapecosh is located at the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, next to Paradise. It is not as popular as Sunrise or Paradise but if you are driving from one to the other, you will for sure pass by Ohanapecosh.

The most famous thing to do in Ohanapecosh is the Grove of the Patriarchs (currently closed because the bridge has significant damage). Other than that, there is Silver Falls, Box Canyon, Nickel Creek and Shriner Peak Trail in Ohanapecosh.

To sum it up, if you look at the map of Mt. Rainier National Park, Carbon River and Sunrise are in the northern part of the park and Longmire, Paradise and Ohanapecosh are in the southern area of the park!

Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park for 3 Days to 4 Days

Summer and early fall are the best time to visit Mount Rainier National Park. All the roads and hiking trails are open during summer and early fall when it is snow free.

In the winter month many of the roads and lodges inside Mount Rainier National Park are closed, so you won’t be able to visit a lot of places inside Mt. Rainier in the winter and spring months. If you are looking to hike and see the most famous places in Mount Rainier, it is better to visit in the summer and early fall.

Mount Rainier annual temperature
Source: Wikipedia, NOAA

To check accurate weather condition and forecast, check this website and also this website. I really like the first website by Mountain Forecast and have used it in Patagonia, New Zealand, and Banff. It is user friendly and gives you actual forecast of the mountain areas.

You can check Mount Rainier road conditions here or on Twitter and trail conditions here. In addition there are webcams for different areas in Mt. Rainier National Park so you can see what it looks like before visiting. 

What Pass and Permits do I need for Mount Rainier National Park for 3-4 Days?

To visit Mount Rainier you will need a national park pass, either an annual pass or a private vehicle pass. The private vehicle pass is valid for 7 consecutive days, so it would be perfect for this 3 day to 4 day Mt. Rainier itinerary.

If you have America the Beautiful Pass, you can also use that to enter Mt. Rainier National Park.

If you do not have either pass ahead of time, don’t worry, you can still visit Mount Rainier. There are manned booth at every Mt. Rainier park entrance, so you can just pay for the pass there. However you may want to purchase the pass ahead of time if you plan to enter Mt. Rainier before 8am in the morning (don’t think the booth have people that early).

You can purchase these passes online or in stores (like REI). If you purchase the National Park Pass or America the Beautiful Pass online, be sure to print it out before traveling.

Mount Rainier National Park Timed Entry Reservation For 2024

Due to overcrowding in 2023, Mount Rainier National Park is implementing a new timed entry reservation system in 2024, which affects Paradise and Sunrise:

  • Paradise: May 24 to Sep 2, 7am to 3pm
  • Sunrise: July 3 to Sep 2, 7am to 3pm

Each reservation costs $2 and each car can only make 1 reservation for 1 area each day (this means you cannot go to Paradise in the morning, go somewhere else, and try to come back in the afternoon). If you are planning to visit Paradise and Sunrise on the same day, you need to make 2 separate reservations for that day.

What’s worse is that you need to make a new reservation everyday. If you are spending 3 days in Mount Rainier, you may need to make 3 reservations (if not more) if you want to visit Paradise or Sunrise.

For more information on this new reservation system at Mount Rainier, as well as when reservation opens up, see the official website.

Detailed Mount Rainier Itinerary for 3 days to 4 days

This summer Mount Rainier itinerary is more geared towards people who like to hike. If you are not planning to hike, don’t worry, there are still a lot of non-hiking related things you can do in Mount Rainier.

If you want to see Mount Rainier but you do not hike, you may not need all 4 days. If you just want to see the highlights of Mount Rainier without hiking, you can take a look at my 1 day Mount Rainier itinerary.

Day 1 in Mount Rainier: Tolmie Peak & Paradise

Tolmie Peak Lookout Hike at Mt. Rainier

10am: Tolmie Peak Hike

Start your first day in Mt. Rainier in Carbon River area of the park. Carbon River is the closest entrance to Seattle, located only about 1.5 hours away by car. If you only have 3 days in Mt. Rainier or if you are not planning to hike that much in Mt. Rainier, feel free to skip this day.

I personally find Tolmie Peak to be an incredibly beautiful hike and it is one of my favorite hikes in Mount Rainier National Park and well worth the effort and time. So if you do have 4 days in Mount Rainier National Park, I highly recommend spending the first day hiking Tolmie Peak.

Eunice Lake at Tolmie Peak

So what is Tolmie Peak anyway? Tolmie Peak is a popular hike located in the northwestern corner of Mt. Rainier National Park, featuring a historical fire lookout with unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier, subalpine lake and wildflowers in the summer.

Tolmie Peak is a moderately difficult hike with about 6.5 mile roundtrip and an elevation gain of 1400 feet. The round trip hike takes about 4-5 hours with a good amount of uphill, but mostly in the shaded forest.

Tolmie Peak fire look out view

There are a lot of mosquitos on the Tolmie Peak trail in the summer, so you should definitely bring bug sprays and even wear long sleeve/ pants. If you are wearing tights, be sure to get thicker ones because my friends got 20 bites on her legs while wearing cotton leggings.

Mowich Lake at Tolmie Peak hike in Mount Rainier
Mowich Lake

You can picnic outside of the fire lookout at the summit (although there are bugs) or you can come back down and picnic near Mowich Lake, which is what we did. There was no bugs at Mowick Lake!

Check out my complete guide on how to hike Tolmie Peak Lookout Trail

3pm: Drive to Paradise

<If you enter Paradise after 3pm you do not need a timed entry reservation>

Paradise is the area south of Mount Rainier; it is the most popular area to visit in Mount Rainier National Park.

Because of the mountains and glaciers, in order to get from Tolmie Peak to Paradise, you have to make a big loop outside of Mt. Rainier National Park to get to Paradise via Eatonville and Ashford. This unfortunately adds a lot of time to this drive.

It generally takes about 3 hours to drive from Tolmie Peak Trail to Paradise (it takes about 2.5 hours from Tolmie Peak to Sunrise). Therefore you should leave Tolmie Peak area at a reasonable hour to avoid having to drive in the dark to reach Paradise.

The drive is generally uneventful, although you should watch out for deers and other animals that suddenly jump out from the woods (this happened to us, it was scary!).

6pm: Dinner

Depending on what time you leave Tolmie Peak, you can stop by Ashford for dinner or go to Paradise Inn (reservation needed) for dinner. Ashford is a very small town, and there are only a few restaurants there. When we went around 6pm every restaurant had a 45 minute wait, so keep that in mind while you plan your Mt. Rainier trip.

Places to eat near Ashford include Rainier BaseCamp Bar & Grill, Paradise Village Hotel & Restaurant, Wildberry Restaurant (Himalayan cafe), Copper Creek Inn, Cabins and Restaurant.

Places to eat in Mt. Rainier: National Park Inn Dining Room, Paradise Inn.

Evening: Stay in Paradise or Ashford.

Where to stay during Day 1 of Mt. Rainier National Park near Paradise?

Similar to restaurant, on day 1 of your 3 to 4 day Mount Rainier trip, you can stay near Ashford or inside Mt. Rainier National Park. Of course as you can assume, it is best to stay inside Mt. Rainier National Park to save you time on driving back and forth everyday.

Paradise Inn: Paradise Inn is THE BEST place to stay in Paradise! It is located right where all the actions are, with a huge parking lot and access to the Paradise Visitors Center, Skyline Trailhead, Nisqually vista trail, Alta Vista Trail, Deadhorse Creek Trail, etc. We stayed at Paradise Inn and it was so convenient. But since everyone wants to stay there, you will need to book a few months in advance (think 4 – 5 months). Book your stay here now!

Paradise Inn in Mt. Rainier
Paradise Inn

National Park Inn: National Park Inn is the other lodge inside Mt. Rainier National Park. It is located south of Paradise near the entrance to the park. Similar to Paradise Inn, it gets sold out months in advance, so book your stay ASAP.

Mountain Meadows Inn: located in Ashford, this hotel offers sun terrace and views of the garden. It is not too far outside of Mt. Rainier National Park and has great reviews.

Stormking Cabins & Spa: if you want a luxury and relaxing experience, you have to stay at Stormking! All units in this hotel comes with a hot tub and patio with garden views.

Day 2 in Mount Rainier: Paradise

If you only have 3 days in Mount Rainier National Park or if you decided to skip Tolmie Peak, then you would start your Mt. Rainier trip here in Paradise.

If you hiked up Tolmie Peak the day before, you would appreciate a more chill and relaxed day on Day 2 of your 3 to 4 days in Mt. Rainier holiday.

You need to make a timed entry reservation to enter Paradise in the summer.

9am: Christine Falls

Located only about a 15 minute drive from Paradise Inn, you don’t need to hike to see this waterfall since you can actually see it from the side of the road.

If you want to, you can do a quick stroll down to the base of Christine Falls and see the famous Christine Falls Bridge. Since this is such an easy walk, older people and kids can also visit this wonderful falls.

Christine Falls, Mt. Rainier

10am: Comet Falls

Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier National Park

Comet Falls is another amazing waterfall in Mt. Rainier National Park. In fact it is one of the best waterfalls in the Mount Rainier region.

Comet Falls is a 3 mile round trip hike and it is moderately challenging as it can be steep and rocky. But it is a beautiful hike as you can walk along the river in the canyon the entire hike and there are many waterfalls to see. You can even see the upper part of Christine Falls in the beginning.

There used to be a bridge right before you reach Comet Falls, but that bridge has been out since 2021. There are a few logs that people walk on to cross the stream without getting wet but the effort is well worth it. Once you cross the stream you can walk up closer to the falls from the bottom and that is one amazing shot you can take.

12pm: Ricksecker Point

Rickesector is a view point on your way to Paradise Inn from Christine Falls and Comet Falls. It is a quick stop where you can see the valley as well as Mt. Rainier.

12:30pm: Lunch

Paradise Inn is a good option for a quick lunch since they have a cafe with a lot of different types of food and there are seats on the terrace. Or if you packed lunch you can eat by a waterfall or somewhere scenic.

2pm: Nisqually Vista Trail

Nisqually Vista Trail Wild flowers

Nisqually Vista Trail is located near the lower parking lot near Paradise Inn. You can walk to the trailhead from Paradise Inn and it takes maybe 10 minutes.

Nisqually Vista Trail is not really a hike, it is more of a leisurely walk with wild flowers, view of Mt. Rainier and its glaciers.

Deer at Mt. Rainier

The entire Nisqually Vista Trail is a 1 mile loop and most of the trail is paved and shaded. Occasionally the trail opens us to a nice view of Mt. Rainier. Most importantly this trail is not busy at all. When I visited there were maybe 3 other people on the trail. Nisqually Vista trail is also bug free unlike Tolmie Peak.

3pm and later: Wild Flowers or more waterfalls

You have a few options on what to do in Paradise in the afternoon.

If you want to see some wild flowers, you can start the “hike” on Skyline Trail near Paradise Inn. A few steps in you will come to the Paradise meadow and see some wild flowers.

If you want to see more waterfalls, there are Ruby Falls and Narada Falls near Paradise Inn.

Ruby Falls is super easy to see and it is only a 7 minute drive from Paradise Visitor Center. You can park your car at the pullout on the road and see the upper portion of Ruby Falls from the road. If you don’t mind walking, you can walk along the Narada Falls trail to see the lower portion of Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls at Mount Rainier National Park
Ruby Falls

Narada Falls is another famous waterfall you can visit. It is a short drive from Ruby Falls. Narada Falls is 180 feet tall with 2 tiers of waterfalls. This waterfall freezes over in the winter and it is an ice climbing destination in Mt. Rainier.

Narada Falls at Mt. Rainier National Park

You can see parts of Narada Falls from the parking lot as well, but if you want to see the entire waterfall you will need to hike 0.1 miles down along a steep and wet trail.

Dinner: Paradise Inn or Ashford

Depending on where you are spending the night, you have a few options for dinner by either eating at Paradise Inn or drive outside of Mt. Rainier National Park and eat at the town of Ashford or your hotel.

Day 3 in Mt. Rainier: Paradise

Day 3 will be a pretty long day as you will (hopefully) get up super early, do a big hike, and drive to Sunrise! If you are planning to only spend 3 days in Mount Rainier then this will be your last day.

Sunrise: Reflection Lake

Wild flowers reflection lake rainier

<If you are entering Sunrise before 7am in the summer, you don’t need a reservation>

Reflection Lake is a famous lake many photographers visit when they go to Mount Rainier National Park. It has a perfect view of Mt. Rainier and when visiting in the right condition, the lake is, well, reflective.

The great thing about Reflection Lake is that it is only about 10 minutes drive from Paradise and there are parking spots. It generally never gets super crowded (at least the two times that I visited).

Generally the best time to visit Reflection Lake is during sunrise. This is when the lighting is the best and water is the most calm. You will most likely see the reflection of Mount Rainier at Reflection Lake assuming the weather is good (not windy or rainy).

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to reflection lake for sunrise, you can always visit in the evening for sunset, but you may not see the reflection during sunset. (You may want to visit the evening of Day 2 since you will be leaving Paradise today).

8am: Skyline Trail

Skyline Trail is the most popular hiking trail in the entire Mount Rainier National Park. Many people say that if you can only hike one thing in Mt. Rainier then it should be the Skyline Trail.

The Skyline Trailhead is in the same parking lot as Paradise Inn. Another advantage of staying at Paradise Inn or go to Reflection Lake for sunrise is that you will definitely be able to get a parking spot at the main parking lot for Skyline Trail.

Skyline Trail view Mt. Rainier

If you visit Skyline Trail after 8am, it is highly likely you will need to park in the overflow parking lot or park on the road and walk. This trail really is super popular in the summer!

Skyline Trail is a 5.5 mile loop hike with a 1700 feet elevation gain. It takes about 4-5 hours total to hike Skyline Trail and visit Myrtle Falls. You can find a bathroom at Skyline Trail head and another one up at Panorama Point on the trail.

Skyline Trail Mt. Rainier

Skyline Trail is extremely popular because it is easy to get to and it has amazing scenery. On the Skyline trail you can pretty much see Mt. Rainier the entire first half of the hike, you will also see wild flowers, glaciers and the surrounding peaks in the Cascade Range. At the end of the trail you will come to Myrtle Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in Mt. Rainier National Park.

View of Mt. Rainier from Skyline Trail

Most people hike Skyline Trail in a clockwise fashion, with the stepper part first then a longer and more moderate decline the second half of the hike.

The best part of Skyline Trail is all the wildflowers during the second half of the hike when you start go downhill. I was super amazed by all the flowers and they were truly beautiful.

Wild flowers on skyline trail in mt. rainier

I highly recommend bringing hiking poles to Skyline Trail, it does help a lot with the intense uphill part in the beginning!

Check out my complete guide on how to hike Skyline Trail Loop.

Myrtle Falls

Myrtle Falls Mt. rainier

As you hike down from the Skyline Trail (assuming you are going clockwise), you will reach Myrtle Falls. Myrtle Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Mt. Rainier.

Myrtle Falls may not be the tallest waterfall in Mt. Rainier at 72 feet, but it is the most popular waterfall because it has an amazing view of Mt. Rainier behind it. It is the perfect photo spot for anyone visiting Paradise!

It can get really crowded at Myrtle Falls during the day because it is so easy to visit. There are a lot of families with elders and little kids visiting Myrtle Falls during the day. I also visited Myrtle Falls at sunset one day and it was much quieter!

Skyline Trail sunset Mt. Rainier

3pm: Tipsoo Lake

After you grab lunch (either at Paradise Inn or picnic during the Skyline Trail), you will be officially saying goodbye to Paradise and head towards your next and final stop: Sunrise.

However before you reach Sunrise, you can stop by Tipsoo Lake on the way!

Tipsoo Lake is about an hour drive from Paradise Inn. It is a popular lake to visit because of its wildflowers and hiking trails. You don’t really have to hike to enjoy Tipsoo Lake, since you can just park the car and walk around the lake to see the wild flowers.

If you do have energy and want to hike (like what we did!), you can check out Naches Peak Loop Trail, a 3.5 mile loop trail that is pretty easy and has some nice views of Mt. Rainier (and other lakes).

Naches Peak Hike view of Mt. rainier
Naches Peak Loop Trail

Late Afternoon: Sunrise

Unlike Paradise, Sunrise does not have a lodge that you can stay at. so you will need to stay outside of Mt. Rainier in order to visit Sunrise.

Where to Stay near Sunrise in Mt. Rainier?

Most people stay in either Enumclaw or Packwood in order to visit Sunrise. I will talk about both areas and hotels here.


Crystal Mountain Resort: Crystal Mountain Resort is a winter ski resort about 45 minute drive from Sunrise Visitor Center. It is a large resort with a lot of restaurants, shops and a cable car to the top of the peak (more on that later). The lodging at Crystal Mountain Resort is the Crystal Hotels.

Crystal Chalet: Crystal Chalet is a self service apartment type of accommodation not far from Crystal Mountain Resort. There is a kitchen with oven and microwave in Crystal Chalet, making it easy to make food. I stayed here and I really liked it!

Alta Crystal Resort at Mr. Rainier: If you want a place with a pool, then you have to stay at Alta Crystal Resort. All guest rooms come with a hot tub, and some rooms have a patio with pool views as well as a sun terrace. If you want the cozy cabin type of feeling, Alta Crystal Resort is the place for you.


Packwood is about an hour drive from Sunrise, but it is a much bigger town than Enumclaw. There are a lot of restaurants and even a large super market in Packwood, making it convenient to stock up on things.

Cowlitz River Lodge: This lodge is a great place to stay in Packwood, with large and spacious rooms and a convenient location super close to the super market.

Crest Trail Lodge is another decent spot to stay. It offers free breakfast everyday with waffles, fruits, coffee and sausage, so you don’t have to worry about getting your own food before hiking.

What are good places to eat in Packwood?

Packwood is a much bigger town than Ashford, so there are a lot of good restaurants here. I personally liked White Pass Taqueria, the food was delicious and they also have outdoor seating. Other popular restaurants in Packwood include Cruiser’s Pizza and Blue Spruce Saloon and Diner.

If you need to do grocery shopping in Packwood, the largest market is Blanton’s Market.

Day 4 in Mt. Rainier: Sunrise

9am: Fremont Fire Lookout

<Sunrise reservation is required if you are visiting in the summer>

Fremont lookout trail is one of the most popular trails in Mt. Rainier National Park, and for good reason. It is a hike that takes you to one of the few fire lookouts that are left in Mt. Rainier National Park and along the hike you get to see other view points and an alpine lake.

Fremont fire lookout hike

Fremont Fire Lookout is a 5.5 mile roundtrip hike with an 1000 feet elevation gain. It is moderately difficult and takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete. Most of the trail is exposed, so you should make sure you have sun protection and adequate amount of water with you.

In order to hike Fremont Fire Lookout, you will need to park your car at Sunrise Day Lodge parking lot. As with Skyline Trail, the parking lot can fill up pretty fast especially on the weekend. We visited around 8 to 8:30am on a Monday and we were still able to find parking.

Frozen Lake Fremont Fire Lookout Hike
Frozen Lake

The trail starts off pretty wide and gradual, although there are some steep parts. The first part of the hike takes you to frozen lake, an alpine lake that is frozen most of the year.

Fremont Fire Lookout Hike

After frozen lake, you will continue to hike uphill and along the ledge. If you are scared of height, you may not like this part of the Fremont Fire Lookout hike very much. However the summit is not too far away at this point and I can guarantee you the hike is worth it.

Mt. Fremont lookout mt. raininer view

Most people bring packed lunch or snack with them and eat at the summit while enjoying the view.

Check out my detailed guide on how to hike Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout Trail

Sunrise Point

After you come back down from Fremont Fire Lookout, you can stop by Sunrise Point for a quick photo. There is a large parking lot there so it would be pretty quick (assuming there is parking available).

2pm: Chrystal Mountain Gondola

Now that you’ve done another big hike, it is time to relax, grab a drink and a bite and enjoy the view!

You will now officially exit Mount Rainier National Park and drive back to Chrystal Mountain Resort.

Crystal Mountain Gondola

Chrystal Mountain Resort is a ski resort in the winter with amazing slopes, but in the summer time it is turned into a summer family destination, with restaurants, shopping and a scenic gondola.

You don’t have to purchase the gondola tickets ahead of time, so you can arrive whenever, park the car in the huge parking lot and buy the gondola tickets at the counter.

I am a big fan of Gondola since they are so relaxing and give you amazing view. The Mt. Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort will take you over 2400 feet to the summit and you can find expansive views of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding Cascade Range.

Crystal Mountain Restaurant view of Mt. Rainier

When you get off the Gondola, you will find Summit House, the highest restaurant in Washington! There is an outdoor terrace with flowers and a view of Mt. Rainier (first come first serve). Food is a bit pricey but worth paying for the view.

Food at Crystal Mountain Resort

And with that, this concludes your amazing 3 to 4 days in Mt. Rainier National Park trip!

If you have more time than 4 days in Mt. Rainier National Park

After spending 4 days in Mount Rainier, you probably have seen Mt. Rainier from all angles now. If you are not sick of it that’s great, because there are a lot more hikes you can do in Mt. Rainier if you have more than 4 days.

Some of the hikes that are highly popular include the Snow and Bench Lake Trail, Silver Falls Trail, and Pinnacle Peak Trail.

Grove of the Patriarchs Trail is a nice family friendly walk where you can see the largest and oldest trees in Mount Rainier National Park. You can also cross a suspension bridge. Unfortunately this trail is currently closed due to damage to the bridge and it is expected to remain closed for the summer 2024 season.

If you like to hike and also love wildflowers, you can hike Spray Park or Summerland Trail. These trails are generally way less crowded, so you can enjoy the mountains and wild flowers all by yourself.

Lastly, if you are into night photography (or just like stars in general), you should stargaze at night in Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier National Park offers Night Sky Programs for families and individuals.

What to pack for 3 days to 4 days in Mount Rainier National Park?

There are some essential items that you should pack for this 3-4 day Mount Rainier National Park itinerary, especially if you plan to hike. I will list some of the most important things to pack for Mt. Rainier here.

Bug Spray: Mt. Rainier is notorious for bugs and mosquitos in the summer. I don’t think you can survive in Mt. Rainier without bug spray!

Mosquito net: Ok this is pretty ridiculous sounding and ridiculous looking, but depending on where you go in Mt. Rainier, it may be a necessity! When we were hiking Tolmie Peak, we got attacked by a million mosquitos and we saw people wearing these nets and thought they were the smartest people.

Long Sleeve/ Long Pants: I sound like a broken record but to avoid the crazy mosquitos you should consider wearing long sleeve and pants (they can even bite through cotton leggings).

Water/ Hydration Pack: Water is a no brainer. If you are planning to do any hikes in Mount Rainier, then definitely bring a hydration pack with you and maybe even a hiking backpack.

Sunglasses/ Sunscreen/ Hat: During the summer months it can be quite sunny and exposed when you go to Mt. Rainier, especially if you are hiking.

Hiking Shoes/ Hiking Poles: If you are planning to hike, I would recommend hiking poles and hiking shoes. Some of the hikes have steep uphill so they definitely help.

Food: You don’t have to pack meals or perishable things, but I find it always helpful to bring some fruits, snacks or energy bars, bread (for sandwiches), and even instant noodle for 1 night or so if you don’t want to pay high prices to eat at restaurants. I generally grocery shop a little bit before heading to any national parks.

Park Pass and Timed Reservation: you won’t be able to get in without these!

Read My Other Mount Rainier Travel Blogs

Mount Rainier Blogs

North Cascades National Park Blogs

Seattle Area Blogs

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