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Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

East Coast
posts: 29
reviews: 3
Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

We are visiting Seattle in late July. Want to take a side trip to Mt. Rainier - which day is best Thurs or Fri? Also from Seattle which stop to make and why--Sunrise or Paradise? Read a little about both but still without direction. Have visited Grand Canyon, Tetons, Yellowstone. Great scenery is a must. Thanks for any suggestions.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 826
reviews: 61
1. Re: Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

I personally prefer Sunrise to Paradise. The drive is easier (in my opinion) and I prefer the scenery on that side. It is wide open sky with the mountain looming over you, and hiking in alpine meadows, bare rock, or light forest. Paradise is usually more crowded, on the tourist bus destination list, and the view of the mountain isn't quite the same. There are more opportunities to see some easy waterfalls on the paradise side. YMMV.

In July, you should be OK for sunrise, but be sure to check the snow conditions. :)

Seattle, Wa
posts: 2,283
reviews: 24
2. Re: Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

I prefer Sunrise, too, for all of the same reasons #1 gave (that post nailed it). That's not to say Paradise isn't gorgeous, and it does have more expansive meadows, but there are just so so so many more people and tour buses there. And the drive from Seattle is more annoying (IMO).

If you have a little extra time after Sunrise, it's worth driving down to Chinook Pass and Tipsoo Lake; it's quite pretty, and it's slightly different mountain scenery than you'll see at Sunrise.

Longview, Washington
Destination Expert
for Mount Rainier National Park
posts: 2,462
reviews: 100
3. Re: Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

I live south of Mt. Rainier, so we usually go to Paradise, but the drive from Seattle is probably better to Sunrise. However, we were at Sunrise last summer the first week in August and there was still some snow in the parking lot and on several places on the trails.

It has always seemed to me that there is more to see and do around Paradise, but it is also considerably more crowded than Sunrise.

Thursday is probably less crowded than a Friday. Be aware, though, that the weather on the mountain can change hourly. I would try to be a little flexible, check the weather reports at the park and pick the day that appears to be the best after you arrive in Seattle.

If you decide to go to Sunrise, take the drive up to Crystal Mountain Resort and ride the gondola up to the top for some really fabulous views of Mt. Rainier.

Edited: 2:24 am, May 30, 2012
East Coast
posts: 29
reviews: 3
4. Re: Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

Thanks for the recc- a big help. So I will plan on heading out from Seattle towards Sunrise. We will only b there for the day. After I leve Sunrise should I continue West towards Paradise and out the park towards Seattle or backtrack the way I entered? Hard to tell from the maps I have seen. Is there a big time difference?

5. Re: Mt Rainier Thurs or Fri, Sunrise or Paradise?

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