I've traveled to Mt Rainier many times over the past 25+ years, and have experienced The Mountain many ways. There is something for everyone on Mt Rainier.
Rainier is a massive volcano, and the most glaciated mountain in the lower 48 states of the US. It receives huge amounts of snow, and generally has snow at or near the Paradise visitors area well into July.
Both the Paradise and Sunrise visitor centers are worth visiting, but perhaps not in a single day. Driving up to, say 5,000 ft, is not all that one should do on Rainier. Go for a short walk or long hike, as your time and health permit. You do not have to get too far away from the parking lots to start appreciating the majesty and beauty of Mt Rainier.
Climbing to the summit of Mt Rainier is a great experience, but one that requires training and planning. This is not a mountain to be taken lightly. The terrain and weather can be harsh, and people do die hiking and climbing on Rainier. On the other hand, with proper assistance, climbing Rainier can be immensely rewarding. There are excellent guide services, like Rainier Mountaineering (RMI) out of Ashford, WA who regularly lead summit climbs. A visit to their website (www.rmiguides.com) will give the interested reader a good idea of how and where to start if they want to consider a summit climb.
Whether you driving around the mountain, stopping at vistas and visitor centers, or climbing to the summit, Mt Rainier is must-visit destination.
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