Sunrise#2 in Best Things To Do in Mount Rainier National Park
Price & Hours
From its elevation at 6,400 feet, Sunrise offers breathtaking, 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys. From this perch, travelers will have views of Mount Rainier and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range, such as Mount Adams. Sunrise is also the highest spot in the park that can be reached by vehicles. The spectacular views, coupled with a varied trail system, make Sunrise the second-most visited location in the park.
Two short hikes are quite popular here, including the Sunrise Nature Trail and Sunrise Rim Trail. The 1 ½-mile Sunrise Nature Trail starts from the Sunrise picnic area and is a self-guided loop tour that weaves through meadows with breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and the Cascades along the way. The 1-mile-long Sunrise Rim Trail leads to two overlooks of Emmons Glacier.
Recent travelers said the visitor center is nicely designed, with informative, interactive exhibits and a friendly staff. Reviewers also said this spot provided a perfect vantage point for taking pictures of Mount Rainier. But as with other popular areas of the park, parking can prove difficult here.
Sunrise sits 60 miles northeast of the Nisqually Entrance and 14 miles northwest of the Sunrise/White River turnoff on Highway 410. The Sunrise Road usually opens in late June or early July and closes in late September to early October. There is a visitor center and a day lodge that are open seasonally. Access to Sunrise is included in park admission. For more information about services and attractions, visit the NPS website.
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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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