Mount Rainier National Park offers an impressive destination for your next RV adventure. Situated in Washington state, the park features an imposing 14,411-foot high active volcano, Mount Rainier, which serves as a prominent attraction. RV campers can immerse themselves in the park’s captivating landscapes and enjoy a range of activities while surrounded by the awe-inspiring wilderness.
The history and cultural significance of Mount Rainier National Park date back to 1899 when it was established, making it one of the oldest national parks in the United States. President William McKinley signed a bill authorizing its creation, paving the way for the preservation of this remarkable natural treasure. The park’s Native American heritage is also noteworthy, as several indigenous tribes, including the Nisqually, have historical ties to the area, considering it sacred and important in their culture.
The unique features of Mount Rainier National Park are shaped by natural occurrences over millennia. The most notable aspect is Mount Rainier itself, an active stratovolcano formed by the subduction of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate beneath the North American plate. Drawing nearly 10,000 visitors annually who dare to climb to its peak. Glaciers have played a significant role in shaping the landscape, carving deep valleys, creating picturesque meadows, and forming towering waterfalls. The park boasts over 25 named glaciers, including Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous United States.
The park’s temperatures vary based on the time of year you visit. While summers do warm up, the overall climate tends to be cooler, offering a refreshing escape from the sweltering heat associated with the season.
For RV enthusiasts, there are three RV-friendly campgrounds within the park, situated at different elevations. It’s essential to note that the maximum RV length allowed is 35 feet, so larger rigs won’t be accommodated at the park campgrounds. However, there are private campgrounds near the park, as well as the Seattle/Tacoma KOA, where you can find suitable accommodation. Being within an hour and a half from Seattle, the area also offers plenty of RV rental options for those without their own rig.
To fully enjoy their RV camping experience at Mount Rainier National Park, renters can engage in numerous activities. Hiking is a popular choice, with trails varying in difficulty, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers. Biking, photography, and wildlife viewing are also favorite pastimes, as the park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including marmots, deer, and mountain goats. During summer evenings, a ranger-led astronomy program offers a fascinating glimpse into the night sky. If you opt for a winter visit, you can partake in ranger-led snowshoeing, and tubing, and witness subalpine meadows adorned in pristine snow.
Please exercise caution during your park visit. Campfires are only allowed in established fire pits/rings within Mount Rainier National Park’s front country campgrounds. Wilderness areas do not permit campfires.
Particularly, expect delays at the southwest park entrance on SR706 during weekends. To stay informed about potential backups, check Google Maps, indicated by the orange/red line, using the link below. Avoid obstructing driveways or roads while waiting outside the park.
Please note that only electronic card payments are accepted for entrance fees and campgrounds. This change aims to streamline transactions, save costs, and enhance accountability. Cash purchases for entrance passes can still be made in local communities.
Stevens Canyon Road is off-limits on weekdays between Stevens Creek and Grove of the Patriarchs. However, it remains accessible on weekends from Friday 8:30 pm to Monday 6:00 am, as well as on holidays. The closure during weekdays is due to ongoing construction in the area spanning from Stevens Creek to the Grove of the Patriarchs parking zone.
The closure has been in effect since November 2021 due to extensive flooding damage, and there is currently no specified date for reopening.
Given the current “LOW” COVID-19 Community Level, all individuals visiting Mount Rainier National Park buildings have the choice to wear masks or not, regardless of their vaccination status.
To do so, plan your visit ahead of time to steer clear of summer traffic. During busy weekends, please be prepared for extended waiting times at entrances and parking lots, as they may reach full capacity.
Visitors can access Mount Rainier National Park using private vehicles, including RVs. Several entry points are easily accessible from major routes like Seattle, Tacoma, Yakima, and Portland, Oregon, and are within 200 miles of the park. While most park roads can accommodate RVs, some have narrow shoulders. Speed limits are generally 35 mph or slower, and some roads close at night and during winter for safety reasons.
Visitor centers offer large parking areas for RVs. However, parking fills up quickly at popular spots like Paradise, Sunrise, and Grove of the Patriarchs. RVs cannot park overnight outside designated campsites. It is recommended to consider carpooling to minimize parking needs. Exploring the park using alternative transportation is not widely available.
Mount Rainier National Park does not provide public transportation services like shuttle buses or walking paths within the park. Private transportation options are available from nearby major cities and airports for reaching the park. Visitors can drive around the park or use designated roadways for cycling.
Located in the southwest section of the park between Longmire and Paradise, Cougar Rock Campground is a popular choice for its convenient location and stunning scenery. It offers 173 individual sites suitable for RVs and tents. The campground operates from late May to late September. While reservations are available, some sites are first-come, first-served. Cougar Rock Campground does not have electrical, water, or greywater hookups, but it does feature an RV dump station. Amenities include individual sites with fire grates, flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station. The pull-through sites can accommodate rigs up to 35 feet long, and back-in sites can host travel trailers up to 27 feet long. Pets are allowed but must be leashed at all times.
Situated on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park, Ohanapecosh Campground is known for its drier and sunnier weather compared to the west side. It offers 188 RV-friendly sites near water and flush toilets. The campground operates from late May to late September, and it’s advisable to reserve a campsite online, especially during the rainier seasons. Ohanapecosh Campground sits at an elevation of approximately 1,914 feet and is lower than Cougar Rock Campground. Unfortunately, there are no RV hookups, and the nearest dump station is located 28 miles away at Maple Grove Resort on Highway 12. Pets are allowed on a leash.
Located just minutes from downtown Seattle, offering guests a chance to explore the vibrant city with guided tours. The campground provides a hot breakfast, bike rentals for access to Seattle’s trails, and a nearby bird sanctuary for nature lovers. It features a heated pool, summer activities, and fishing opportunities. Guests can visit iconic sites like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. The campground offers full hook-up sites, restrooms, hot showers, and laundry facilities for a comfortable stay.
Offers a first-come, first-served camping system. The campground has 112 available sites. Located at an elevation of 4,400 feet in the northeast section of the park, it is the highest elevated RV-friendly campground. It is reachable by a five-mile drive from Highway 410A and offers four camping loops with secluded sites, providing privacy to campers.
White River Campground has four camping loops known for their private and secluded sites, providing a sense of tranquility to campers. The amenities offered here are potable water, flush toilets, and fire grates. The campground can accommodate travel trailers or RVs up to 35 feet in length.
The campground is open from late June until September, during the summer months when weather conditions are generally more favorable for camping.
Pets are allowed at White River Campground, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Keep in mind that campground policies and availability may change, so it’s always best to check with the official Mount Rainier National Park website for the most up-to-date information before planning your camping trip.
In addition to camping, there are several inns and lodges located in the surrounding areas of Mount Rainier National Park. These accommodations offer a more comfortable and luxurious stay compared to camping. Visitors can enjoy the convenience of amenities like restaurants, gift shops, and guided tours while being close to the park’s entrance. Like National Park Inn, this historic inn is located within Mount Rainier National Park at Longmire. It offers comfortable guest rooms, a full-service dining room, and a general store. The inn provides a cozy retreat after a day of exploring the park’s wonders. Another is Paradise Inn, another historic inn within the park, Paradise Inn offers rustic charm and stunning mountain views. It features guest rooms, a post office, a gift shop, and a full-service dining room. The inn provides an excellent option for visitors exploring the park’s Paradise area.
For those in search of a more adventurous camping experience, backcountry camping provides an excellent option. Mount Rainier National Park offers designated backcountry campsites, including Wonderland Trail Backcountry Camps and Carbon River Backcountry. To camp in these remote sites, RV renters can park their vehicles at designated trailheads and then hike or backpack to their desired location. However, it’s crucial to be well-prepared for wilderness camping and adhere to park regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Alternatively, private campgrounds offer convenient and comfortable options for RV renters near the park. These private campgrounds provide various amenities such as full hookups, showers, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Additionally, some private campgrounds even offer shuttle services to Mount Rainier, allowing visitors to explore the park during the day and return to their campsite in the evening. Alder Lake Park is a prime example of such private campground, located approximately 25 miles from the park’s southwest entrance. This campground offers RV camping with electric and water hookups, while also boasting lake views, a swimming area, boat rentals, and picnic shelters.
One of the most famous winter activities in Mount Rainier National Park that attracts RV Campers is the winter wonderland at Paradise. Located at an elevation of approximately 5,400 feet, Paradise is a snow-covered paradise during the winter season. RV Campers can experience thrilling snowboarding and cross-country skiing opportunities amidst breathtaking alpine scenery. The area receives an average of over 600 inches of snow annually, making it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. The Paradise snowplay area is open from late December through mid-March, providing a safe and fun spot for sledding and tubing. RV Campers can set up their cozy campsite nearby, soaking in the serene ambiance of the winter landscape. With stunning views of Mount Rainier and well-maintained facilities, Paradise is a top destination for RV Campers seeking a memorable winter adventure.
For RV Campers looking for exhilarating winter activities, Mount Rainier National Park offers designated snowmobiling trails that promise an unforgettable experience. One of the most popular snowmobiling areas is in the southwest section of the park, starting from the junction of Westside Road and the main park road. The six-and-a-half-mile stretch down to Round Pass along Westside Road allows snowmobilers to immerse themselves in the pristine winter wilderness while enjoying the thrill of snowmobiling. Moreover, there is another snowmobiling area near the Cougar Rock Campground road loops, providing additional options for RV Campers seeking snowmobiling adventures. With proper permits and adherence to designated routes, RV Campers can enjoy the snowmobiling splendor of Mount Rainier National Park during the winter months.
Mount Rainier National Park offers an unforgettable winter camping experience for adventurous RV Campers. Throughout the park, snow camping is allowed almost anywhere, making it an appealing destination for those seeking solitude and tranquility in the snowy landscape. RV Campers can explore various backcountry areas, far away from the crowds, and immerse themselves in the quiet beauty of the winter wilderness. However, RV Campers must take the necessary precautions, staying away from plowed roads and waterways, and having a recommended eight feet of snow for building a snow cave. Obtaining permits for backcountry camping is essential, and proper supplies and safety gear should be brought along to ensure a safe and memorable winter camping experience.
For RV Campers looking to explore the winter wonderland on foot, the ranger-guided snowshoe walks in Mount Rainier National Park are a must-try activity. From December through March, depending on snow conditions, the park offers guided snowshoe walks led by knowledgeable rangers. These walks provide unique insights into the park’s ecology and winter wildlife while RV Campers enjoy the tranquility of the snow-covered landscape. The park provides snowshoes for the guided walks, and a suggested donation helps maintain and replace the equipment. However, RV Campers can also rent snowshoes and venture out with their group, exploring the beauty of the winter wilderness at their own pace.
Winter in Mount Rainier National Park transforms the landscape into a magical wonderland, and RV Campers can witness awe-inspiring frozen waterfalls and breathtaking winter scenery throughout the park. Christine Falls and Narada Falls are particularly popular spots to witness the frozen splendor, with cascading water turned into icy sculptures. RV Campers can capture unforgettable photos of these frozen waterfalls and other winter landscapes as they traverse the park’s roads, taking in the beauty from the comfort of their RVs. Winter sunrises and sunsets cast a warm glow over the snowy peaks, creating a captivating spectacle for RV Campers seeking natural wonders and stunning photography opportunities.
The Sunrise area in Mount Rainier National Park offers RV Campers a spectacular view of the fall foliage at higher elevations. As one of the highest points reachable by vehicle, at over 6,400 feet, Sunrise provides a bird’s-eye view of the cascading colors as leaves change across the landscape. Campers can enjoy the scenic drive to this location or venture out on various nearby hiking trails to immerse themselves in the natural beauty. Sunrise is also renowned for its clear skies and stunning sunrises, adding to the allure of a fall visit.
For horseback riding enthusiasts, the Laughingwater Creek Trail near the Steven’s Canyon Entrance is an ideal destination. The trail is open for horseback riding and offers a beautiful experience through dense forests. It presents an opportunity to spot elk amidst the natural surroundings. The Laughingwater Creek Trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and spans approximately 12 miles. At the end of the trail, riders are rewarded with the sight of three mountain lakes, making it a must-visit for those who love horseback riding.
The Skyline Trail, a favorite among RV Campers, offers a quintessential fall hiking experience. The trail leads through verdant meadows and vibrant forests that come alive with autumn hues. Hikers can relish the breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and its surrounding peaks while being encompassed by the changing foliage. The Skyline Trail can be accessed from the Paradise area, which is easily reachable by RV and offers parking facilities. The trail is of moderate difficulty, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels who wish to explore the stunning fall landscapes up close.
Late summer in Mount Rainier National Park offers a great environment for mushroom picking. Visitors can find a variety of mushrooms, including edible ones like chanterelles, matsutake, boletus, morels, shaggy mane, pig’s ear, hen-of-the-woods, and brain mushrooms. However, some mushrooms can be poisonous, so caution is advised. Certain species appear after the first fall rain or later with the first frost. There is a limit on the number of mushrooms that can be picked per person, and only non-commercial picking is allowed. No permit is required, but visitors should check the park’s specific limits for the timeframe they plan to visit. The hike between Longmire and Narada Falls is a recommended spot for finding edible mushrooms.
Silver Falls Trail is a hidden gem that RV Campers and hikers adore during the fall season. The trail weaves through an enchanting old-growth forest, passing by towering trees adorned with vibrant fall colors. As its name suggests, the highlight of the trail is the beautiful Silver Falls, where the cascading waters provide a mesmerizing backdrop to the autumn scenery. This moderately challenging hike rewards adventurers with the chance to bask in the tranquility of nature and marvel at the seasonal splendor.
As the day draws to a close, the Grove of the Patriarchs becomes a captivating destination for RV Campers seeking a peaceful and magical experience. This short and easy trail, accessible via a suspension bridge, winds through ancient, towering trees adorned with the warm tones of fall foliage. The sight of the setting sun filtering through the golden leaves creates an ethereal atmosphere that leaves visitors in awe. Located in the southeast corner of the park, the Grove of the Patriarchs is a must-visit for RV travelers looking to immerse themselves in the tranquility and natural wonder of Mount Rainier’s fall season.
Motorized boats are not allowed in the park lakes, but visitors can still enjoy canoeing and kayaking on several lakes within the park. Fishing is also a popular activity, offering a serene way to connect with nature. While the fish caught here may be small, it doesn’t diminish the enjoyment of the experience. It’s essential to be aware of endangered fish species in the streams and rivers and follow regulations to protect the ecosystem.
During the summer, RV Campers flock to Paradise Meadows, one of the most famous spots in Mount Rainier National Park. Located at an elevation of approximately 5,400 feet, this area boasts a breathtaking display of wildflowers, including yellow cinquefoils, white avalanche lilies, purple lupines, and pink penstemons. The colorful meadows offer a vibrant contrast to the snow-covered landscape of the previous months. While Paradise can get crowded during peak blooming periods, visitors seeking a more solitary experience can venture further along the Skyline Trail, which leads to higher elevations with cooler temperatures and stunning vistas of Mount Rainier. This iconic destination is easily accessible by RV, with ample parking facilities at the Paradise Visitor Center.
Though there are no designated biking trails, cyclists can explore the paved roads throughout the park. Sharing the road with vehicles requires caution, and visitors should adhere to park rules, which may vary in different areas. Bringing your own bike is recommended, as rentals may not be available. Skateboards and rollerblades are not permitted.
Sunrise Point is a must-visit location for RV Campers seeking to explore the beauty of Mount Rainier’s alpine region. As the highest point reachable by vehicle at over 6,400 feet, Sunrise offers a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Hikers of all levels will be delighted with the numerous trails that start from this area, catering to different preferences and abilities. The Sunrise area is a treasure trove of wildflowers and unique wildlife encounters. Campers can enjoy a leisurely hike or opt for more challenging routes like the Sourdough Ridge Trail, which rewards with stunning vistas of Mount Rainier and the picturesque valleys below. Sunrise Point is easily accessible via RV, and ample parking is available at the Sunrise Visitor Center.
For RV Campers looking for unique geological wonders, Box Canyon is a fascinating attraction. This natural marvel features a large fissure and smooth flat rocks sculpted by ancient glaciers. The powerful forces of nature on display in this canyon make it a must-see sight in Mount Rainier National Park. RV Campers can hike through the area and marvel at the intricate rock formations or take a moment to relax and enjoy a picnic amidst the impressive surroundings. Box Canyon is conveniently located off the main park road, providing easy access for visitors traveling by RV.
During the spring season, RV Campers flock to Paradise Meadows, a famous location within Mount Rainier National Park. Known for its breathtaking display of wildflowers, this area transforms into a vibrant landscape as the snow melts away. The meadows come alive with colorful blooms, including yellow cinquefoils, white avalanche lilies, purple lupines, and pink penstemons. Spring hikers can explore a network of lowland trails that offer a family-friendly experience while immersing themselves in the beauty of the alpine surroundings. Paradise Meadows is easily accessible by RV, with ample parking available at the Paradise Visitor Center.
Spring is an ideal time to witness the magnificence of Mount Rainier’s waterfalls, as the snowmelt intensifies their flow. RV Campers can embark on short walks to reach stunning cascades like Christine Falls and Narada Falls, both easily accessible from convenient parking lots. For a more adventurous journey, hikers can tackle a day hike to Comet Falls, a towering cascade that rewards with awe-inspiring views. The sound of rushing water and the sight of these majestic falls add to the enchantment of Mount Rainier National Park during the spring season.
For RV Campers who enjoy mountain biking, Carbon River Road is a notable attraction within the park during spring. Due to flooding in 2006, vehicle access is limited, making it one of the few areas in Mount Rainier National Park where mountain bikes are permitted. This unique experience allows cyclists to immerse themselves in the climate of an inland temperate rainforest, a characteristic found in this part of the park. The road stretches approximately five miles and features relatively level terrain, making it suitable for visitors of all ages seeking a leisurely and scenic bike ride.
April is the time to celebrate National Park Week, and RV Campers have the opportunity to explore Mount Rainier without paying entrance fees. This annual event allows visitors to appreciate the history and significance of the national park system while enjoying the wonders of Mount Rainier. Popular locations like Paradise and Longmire are often busy during this time, but the melting snow in the Carbon River area provides a great place for early-season hikers and cyclists. RV Campers should plan their trip accordingly, as this week tends to be highly popular.
While motorized boats are prohibited in the park, Mowich Lake offers RV Campers a chance to enjoy non-motorized boating during the spring season. Surrounded by the majestic beauty of Mount Rainier, this picturesque lake provides stunning vistas from the water. Although the spring water remains too cold for swimming, RV Campers can enjoy a peaceful canoe or kayak ride, taking in the serene beauty of the natural surroundings. It is advisable to bring your own watercraft to fully embrace this tranquil experience on Mowich Lake.