My Mom Was Right About Mount Rainier

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“But Mom, it’s so far away and we’re spending so much time in the car already,” I said, annoyed that she would even bring up the option of driving to Mount Rainier for a day.  We were in the midst of planning a family get-together for after my Olympic Peninsula trip ended and before my parents’ trip to Vancouver began.  We only had one day of overlap; why couldn’t we just stay in Seattle?

“It’s beautiful there,” my mom said, reminding me once again what an impression Rainier left on her after a third grade field trip.  To still remember being in awe fifty years later must make it pretty special.

I pouted, glad we were talking on the phone and she couldn’t see my face twist in person.

“All right,” I relented.  After all, the main priority was spending time with family rather than any specific activities of the day.

That’s how I found myself sitting in a rental car for the long drive to Mount Rainier on a day trip.  Just like the family roadtrips of my childhood, things didn’t go smoothly.  We argued over the radio station and volume, how to navigate, and how cold to blast the air conditioning.

And then we saw Mount Rainier.  

All bickering immediately stopped as we got our first glimpse of this majestic mountain.

mount rainier

Over the course of the next hour (in my family, it’s not a vacation until you miss a turn and have to backtrack), we sat in the car, quietly mesmerized by a single snow-capped mountain.

At least that’s what three of us did — hopefully my father was quiet because he was so focused on safely driving the narrow, windy road.

Eventually, we made it to the Sunrise entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, the section of the park my mom said was best.  At this point, I was ready to believe her every word.  My mom was right; the drive to Mount Rainier was worth every minute and we hadn’t even done anything yet.

As we continued upward, the views became more beautiful at each and every twist or turn.  I think we drove my dad crazy, asking to pull off and stop for photos at every possible place.

mount rainier road

Unlike other mountain destinations, there’s really only one peak here.  Mount Rainier is actually a volcano and it’s isolated all by itself instead of being part of a continuous range.  Even without that variety, the view never got old.  Mount Rainier is so beautiful that I could (and did) look at it all day.

As tempting as it was to just sit there with my jaw dropping, our goal for the day was the same as most families at national parks: a hike and a picnic.  Enticed by the promise of spectacular views, we set off on the Silver Forest Trail.

hiking mount rainier

July is historically the best time of year to visit Mount Rainier: chances of sunshine are high and it’s warm enough for wildflowers to ply the slopes.  This year, there are fewer flowers than normal due to Washington state’s drought, but it was still beautiful.

Of course, the main attraction isn’t the flowers, but the mountainside itself.  My mom promised it wouldn’t disappoint and she was absolutely right.

The way we visited this national park was nothing like how I normally travel.  We didn’t trek for hours and we didn’t even attempt to see the whole park.  There were no epic moments and no crazy adventures.  Just me, my family, and a beautiful natural setting.

And I can’t think of a better way to spend a day (even if I do have to admit I was wrong).

mount rainier family
Totally Necessary – Family Selfie on Mount Rainier

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12 thoughts on “My Mom Was Right About Mount Rainier”

  1. Beautiful photos! The more I travel abroad, the more I get excited to keep traveling when I get back home to the States. Mount Rainier is one of so many gorgeous places I still can’t believe I haven’t seen.

    1. @Katie, I used to primarily travel in the USA (and loved doing so!) but then somehow in 2014 I lost sight of my home country. This year, I’m back to mostly US, with a single trip to China mixed in for good measure. Don’t get me wrong, I love international destinations, but there’s a lot to see at “home” too.

  2. WOW, so beautiful! I haven’t had a chance to visit the Seattle area, but I’m sure when we do we definitely will visit Mount Rainier!

  3. The only surprises we’ve really had when travelling is someone’s desire to try a new food. It usually sounds gross to the rest of us, but in the end we’re all surprised how good it really was.

  4. Mount Rainier is absolutely breathtaking. There’s a small town here in Arizona that’s a former Ghost Town that has been revitalized and my sister had recommended I go for a few years and when I finally did, I was so happy I made it. It’s now one of my favorite day destinations. The drive into the mountains is absolutely breathtaking and the town is fun, lively and pure adventure!

  5. This article was good I just wished it had more information on it like when was the park established, who established it and ect. Please don’t take this the wrong way.

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