Mount Rainier. Mountain in Washington, United States

Mount Rainier

Mountain in Washington, United States

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Mount Rainier

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Cascade Red Fox - Mount Rainier
Cascade Red Fox - Mount Rainier. Photo by Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in both the Cascade Range (Wikipedia
	Article) and the state of Washington. Same as Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier is a large active volcano, situated in the state of Washington, 87 kilometers southeast of Seattle.

Being on the “Decade List” is a fact which makes Mount Rainier one of the most hazardous volcanoes around the world. In case of an eruption, the large amount of ice that is “worn” by Mount Rainier could melt, producing massive floods that could be fatal for the whole Puyallup River valley.


Yakama, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, Cowlitz, and Nisqually are some of the Pacific Northwest tribes who inhabited Mount Rainier in their search for food and mountain meadows. Captain George Vancouver (Wikipedia Article), a British explorer, who is well-known for being the first European that saw Mount Rainier, approached Puget Sound during springtime in 1792. Doctor William Fraser claimed that the mountain’s flora is rich in medicinal plants. P.B. Van Trump and Hazard Stevens were the first humans who managed to climb the mountain back in 1870; they were considered heroes by the citizens of Olympia. In 1893, the “Pacific Forest Reserve” took Mount Rainier in its custody in order to protect the region’s most valuable resources: watersheds and timber. In 1899, President William McKinley made Mt. Rainier National Park the United States’ fifth national park. In 2011, Washington State released their quarter featuring a salmon and Mount Rainer.

 - Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier. Photo by unknown


Mount Rainer, a stratovolcano which is part of the “Cascade Volcanic Arc”, compounds of debris flows, lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta. The actual cone is around 500,000 years old, while the volcanic deposits could be around 840,000 years old. The volcano is mostly made of andesite, being greatly eroded, with lots of glaciers on its sides.

The most recent volcanic eruption was somewhere between 1820 and 1854, however, many people reported volcanic activities between 1858 and 1894 as well. Even though Mt. Rainier is an active volcano, since 2010 there hasn’t been any evidence to prove a future eruption.


Glaciers are some of the most dynamic and obvious geologic characteristics of Mount Rainier. Glaciers corrode the mountain cone and are some of the most important sources of water for several rivers, including those who produce irrigation and hydroelectric power.

Fauna and Flora

Mount Rainier houses more than 60 mammal species, 5 reptile species, around 180 species of birds, and approximately 14 species of fish and amphibians. Mammals include bats and carnivores species such as bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, red fox, and black bear but also insectivores, hoofed mammals, rodents, and hares. More than 55% of the region is covered by forest, separated in three categories: low-elevation, mid-elevation, and high- elevation forests.

Visiting Mount Rainier

Climbing Mount Rainier is very difficult even for experienced hikers because of the glaciers. An experienced climber requires at least two days to reach the peak. Wilderness travel, glacier travel and self-rescue are fundamental things which need to be taken in consideration. Every year, more than 8,000 people attempt to reach the summit via Camp Muir or Emmons Glacier routes. The worst climbing accident on Mount Rainier took place back in 1981, when 11 hikers lost their lives during an ice fall near the Ingraham Glacier (Wikipedia
	Article). This was the cruelest accident that happened on Mount Rainier since the 1946 plane crash, when 32 people were killed. Statistically speaking, around two climbing deaths occur every year because of avalanches, hypothermia, and rock falls.

However, Mount Rainier is not famous for the accidents but for the big number of activities that happen here. Skiing, hiking, camping, and photography are very popular in the area. It is the perfect destination for families who want to spend a couple of relaxing days and also for school camps and group of teenagers. All in all, nobody should leave their camera at home because taking pictures here must be a priority.

How to Get There

Mount Rainier National Park is situated in west-central Washington. Several important cities such as Seattle, Yakima, Tacoma, Oregon, and Portland are within 306 kilometers of the national park. However, visitors should always be aware of the road status page before packing the bags. Unfortunately, road closures are quite often because of the changing nature of Mount Rainier. Located at the very foothills of Mount Rainier, Puyallup is the little sister of Yakima, but an equally exciting tourist destination. The railroad is close by and there are plenty of hotels ready to serve the clients, so accommodation is not an issue.

Similar Landmarks

Other fascinating mountains that need to be visited in the United States of America are Mount Katahdin, Mount Hood, Mount Evans, and El Capitan. Other similar landmarks outside the United States are Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, Mount Aconcagua, Mount Etna, Mount Nyiragongo (Wikipedia Article) and Mount Fuji.

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Author: Iuliana. Last updated: Mar 03, 2015

Pictures of Mount Rainier

Mt. Rainier - Mount Rainier
Mt. Rainier - Mount Rainier. Photo by Troy Mason

Mount Rainier at Sunset - Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier at Sunset - Photo by andy porter

Spring Green, Mount Rainier National Park [Explore 5/29/14] - Mount Rainier
Spring Green, Mount Rainier National Park [Explore 5/29/14] - Photo by Joe Parks

Wildflowers at Deadhorse Creek - Mount Rainier
Wildflowers at Deadhorse Creek - Mount Rainier. Photo by Troy Mason

A foggy and cold morning on the Nisqually—September 2012 - Mount Rainier
A foggy and cold morning on the Nisqually—September 2012 - Mount Rainier. Photo by Justin Kern

Mount Rainier near Sunset - Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier near Sunset - Photo by Mark Stevens

The Milky Way over Mt Rainier by Michael Matti - Mount Rainier
The Milky Way over Mt Rainier by Michael Matti - Mount Rainier. Photo by Michael Matti

Autumn Reflection - Mount Rainier
Autumn Reflection - Mount Rainier. Photo by Jim Culp

20121017-_D7K6178.jpg - Mount Rainier
20121017-_D7K6178.jpg - Mount Rainier. Photo by JD Hascup


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