Longmire picture
Jasperdo/Flickr

Key Info

Mount Rainier National Park

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Recreation, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

When the park was established in 1899, James Longmire's homestead and mineral springs resort became the park's headquarters. Longmire settled in the area in the mid-1800s, discovered the springs and opened a rustic resort. Today, the original 1916 headquarters shelters a year-round museum with information and exhibits that tell the story of the early days of the park. In fact, all of Longmire is now designated as a national historic district. You'll also find the Longmire Wilderness Information Center as well as the National Park Inn here. There are several hiking trails within Longmire, including the Trail of the Shadows, a nearly 1-mile loop trail that begins near the museum, takes you on an easy walk past the Longmire hot springs, through the surrounding forest and a replica of one of the park's earliest homesteads.

Visitors call Longmire a "classic old-time museum" and a "hidden gem," with helpful park rangers.

Longmire, which is located in the southwest corner of the park, a little more than 6 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance, is open year-round. The Wilderness Information Center is usually open daily from late May to early October, and offers wilderness permits and hiking and backcountry camping information. Access to Longmire, including its museum, is included in park admission. For more information on amenities and trails, visit the NPS website.

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More Best Things To Do in Mount Rainier National Park

Paradise
Sunrise
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 5
#1 Paradise

Paradise, which is located at an elevation of 5,400 feet, is a great place to start your park visit and where you'll find the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center, the main visitor center for the park. It offers general information, exhibits, a park film, guided ranger programs, a gift store and a cafeteria. In the summer, this area is ideal for wildflower viewing, and in winter, this is the main area for activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing. The historic Paradise Inn, which is usually open from mid-May to early October, is also located in this area, as is the Guide House, where climbers can obtain permits and hiking and backcountry camping information.

Visitors call the area "breathtaking" and "gorgeous," especially in peak wildflower season (July to August). Paradise also gets high marks for its visitor center and ranger programs. The only downside is that since it is so popular, parking can be hard to come by and you may experience long waits, according to some previous visitors.

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