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Mt. Rainier National Park
Mt. Rainier National Park
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The state of Washington is home to the Mt. Rainier National Park Destination. Mount Rainier is the namesake of the destination, with the name being given by Georgy Vancouver after his friend Admiral Peter Rainier.[1] Rainier city has a population of 2,581 people, with a growth rate of 3.95%.[2] Other attractions in the area include Goldendale Observatory, Maryhill Museum, and Maryhill Stonehenge, all of which are located in Goldendale.[3] The main interest in the area is Mount Rainier itself, providing over 306,000 jobs nationwide and recently having 330.8 million visitors to the park.[4] Mount Rainier stands at 14,411 feet tall, making it the fifth-tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. There are four zones on the mountain due to the high elevation, each having specific flora and fauna. The national park itself is 380 square miles, with multiple hiking trails. Rivers running from glaciers on Mount Rainier include Carbon River, Puyallup River, Cowlitz River, and Nisqually River.[5] It’s recommended that visitors come to the park between July and August when the weather is warmer, drier, and provides the area with “optimal hiking conditions.”[6] The average high temperature during the warm season is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with the low average being in January at 29 degrees.[7]

What Mt. Rainier National Park is known for

The Mt. Rainier National Park Destination is named after Mount Rainier, a stratovolcano located in the state of Washington. Before the mountain received the name Rainier, it was known as Talol, Tacoma, or Tahoma by those who spoke Salishan. These names are speculated to mean ‘mother of waters,’ ‘snow-covered mountain,’ and ‘larger than Mount Baker.’ However, the destination’s namesake is known to be given by George Vancouver. Rear Admiral Peter Rainier was a friend to Vancouver, which led him to name the mountain in honor of his friend. During Lewis and Clarks’s expedition, they referred to the mountain as Mt. Regniere. After Theodore Winthrop published The Canoe and the Saddle in 1862, the name Mt. Tacoma started to be used more, leading to “both names [being] used interchangeably.”[1]

Rainier is a city in the destination located west of Mount Rainier National Park in Thurston County, Washington. As of 2020, Rainier had a population of 2,581 people, which has been growing by a 3.95% rate.[2] Other notable cities in the region include Roy, Graham, Naches, and Goldendale. All the cities in the destination are located on the outskirts of the forested mountain area that makes up most of the region. Goldendale is one of the more populated cities within the destination, with a population of 3,407 as of the 2010 census. Attractions in the city include the Goldendale Observatory, Maryhill Museum, and Maryhill Stonehenge.[3]

Other attractions in the destination include Mount Rainier itself. Specific things to do at the mountain include visiting Paradise, which is said to be “the most beautiful area of Mount Rainier National Park.” Other activities include hiking the Alta Vista Trail or Nisqually Vista Trail, visiting Myrtle Falls, Reflection Lake, Narada Falls, Longmire, and Ricksecker Point, which is a lookout point where people can view the mountain’s south side.[8] It’s recommended that visitors visit the destination between July and August, during which time the weather is drier and warmer. These weather conditions are said to provide “optimal hiking conditions.” It’s recommended that those wanting to experience a “winter wonderland” should go between November and March when the mountain is covered in snow. However, many areas and roads on or near Mount Rainier are closed during that time.[6]


The Mount Rainier National Park Destination is located in the western part of the state of Washington. Mount Rainier, the namesake of the destination, is situated in the top part of the region, with other notable places being Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and Mt. Adams, all of which are towards the bottom part of the destination. Cities located in the area include Goldendale, Naches, Roy, and Graham.

Mount Rainier, a geographic feature in the Mt. Rainier National Park Destination, stands at 14,411 feet, making it the fifth-tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. The national park is comprised of 380 square miles, with the base of the mountain being 100 square miles. Mount Rainier has 26 major glaciers, which leads to it being the “most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states at 35 square miles of snow and glaciers.” In addition to being the most glaciated peak, it also has the lowest glacier in the U.S., sitting at 1600 feet. The mountain is an active Cascade Range volcano that is also covered in snow and glacial ice.[5]

The region has multiple rivers leading from the various glaciers on Mount Rainier; such rivers include the Carbon River, Puyallup River, Cowlitz River, and Nisqually River, which empties into the relatively nearby Puget Sound. The region is known for having four different life zones due to the elevation changes. The different zones are the Humid Transition Zone, Canadian Zone, Hudsonian Zone, and the Arctic-alpine Zone. Vegetation is thicker in the Humid Transition Zone, which is the lowest in elevation. Common trees in this zone that also transition into the Canadian Zone include western hemlock, Pacific tree dogwood, western red cedar, and Douglas fir.[5]

Wildlife can be found roaming the destination depending on the time of year and the area. Common animals that inhabit the region at various times of the year include coyotes, Columbian black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, goats, squirrels, marmots, chipmunks, cougars, and black bears. Overall, there are 63 different species of mammals, 16 amphibians, and five species of reptiles at Mount Rainier.[9]

Weather in the Mount Rainier National Park Destination is on average described as “hot and muggy” during the summer, with winters being “cold, snowy, and windy.” The warmest times of the year typically occur between May to September, with an average high temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. November to March is considered the cold season, with the average daily temperature being 53 degrees; however, January is the colder month, with the low typically being 29 degrees. May brings the most rain throughout the year, while February is the snowiest month for the destination.[7]


Native Americans were the first to inhabit the Mt. Rainier National Park Destination, according to archaeological evidence. It’s assumed that the natives would come to the mountain during specific times during the year to hunt and gather resources. Those Native American tribes are still present in the region in current times, being called “dedicated caretakers of this landscape.” Tribes that still have connections to the mountain include the Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Yakama, and Squaxin Island, to name a few.[10]

The mountain was explored by Captian George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy during a survey of the land in 1792. After discovering the land mass, he decided to name it after his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. Soon after Vancouver discovered the mountain, mountaineers made their way to the land. The first recorded climb to the summit of the peak of the mountain was done by Van Trump and General Hazard Stevens in 1870. Groups came to the region, aiding in helping establish the national park in 1899. Mount Rainier was the fifth national park established in the United States.[10]

The history of Mount Rainier dates back before Native Americans inhabited the area. The history starts about 500,000 years ago when the land mass began to grow “atop eroded remains of an earlier ancestral Mount Rainier that were active 1-2 million years ago.” Overall, the mountain grew through four different stages of volcanic activity over the course of an estimated 100,000 years. Volcanic activity is still active in the mountain during current times, with lava flows that don’t exceed 8 km from the summit.[11]

The mountain serves as a recreational area that visitors often utilize in present times. The town Rainier in the destination has grown to a population of 2,581 people.[3] Growth in the population averages at a 3.95% annual rate. The current population has increased by 43.63% since the 2010 census. White is the dominant race in the area, making up 83.23% of the population, while African Americans make up 5.45% of the population.[2] Roy, Naches, Graham, and Goldendale are a few cities in the destination that add to the region’s population. Specifically, Goldendale has a population of 3,760 people.[3] The economy of the area is driven primarily by tourism due to the fact that the national park protects the resources of the landscape, such as timber and watersheds.[1] Over 18 billion dollars was spent by 330.8 million visitors to the park and others in the community that is within 60 miles of the national park. The spending of tourists has provided 306,000 jobs nationwide.[4]

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The Copper Creek Inn, Cabins, and Lodge is located in Ashford, Washington, just a few miles away from the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. The twenty-two-acre property has sixteen total units and a restaurant. The cabins on the property can sleep from two to sixteen guests, with private hot tubs, kitchens, and outdoor areas. Firepits and yard games are available for guests to use at any time, and a pond on the property is stocked with trout, and visitors are encouraged to go fishing in its waters. This family-friendly property has an outdoor wedding venue and event center that can be reserved during the warmer seasons of the year for events.

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