Mount Rainier looms over the Seattle horizon, looking as if the peak was close enough to touch, even though the national park is a two hour drive away. Mount Rainier National Park warrants a visit of a few days, but if you are short on time, then it can easily be visited as a day trip from the Seattle area. Like its neighbor to the southwest, Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier is also categorised as an active volcano. At 14,410 feet it is the tallest peak in the northwest’s Cascade mountain range, which also lays claim to having the largest glacier in the lower 48 states.
Mount Rainier first started out as a forest reserve, but through the efforts of the legendary John Muir, his Sierra Club and other organizations, this mountain and the land around it was established as the fifth National Park in 1899. Today, about 2 million people visit this national park which is within such easy reach of the two large metropolitan areas of Seattle and Tacoma. While a small percentage attempt the summit each summer, the majority of the visitors stay on the roads developed in the early 20th century. About 95% of the park is protected and undeveloped wilderness.
Archaeological evidence shows evidence of human activity in the area as far back as 9000 years ago. The local Indian tribes have long revered the mountain. While they had names for other peaks, only this was “The Mountain”, the one they called Tahoma, “The Mountain That is God”.
For up to date park information, visit: https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm
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