15 Fast Facts About Mount Rainier

posted in: Mount Rainier, National Parks | 8

Mount Rainier from Mazama Ridge

The Mountain is out.”

No words sound sweeter to the ears of a Rainieraholic like me. It’s a favorite phrase in the local lexicon, because any day Mount Rainier is out means cloudless blue skies from here to eternity. And it’s going to be a good day!

Regal Mount Rainier looms over Eunice Lake along the trail to Tolmie Peak.
Mount Rainier from the Mazama Ridge Trail.
Mount Rainier from the Naches Peak Trail.

Why is this snowy colossus so special? Read on for 15 fast facts about Mount Rainier.

  1. Mount Rainier is one of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes in the United States.
  2. The highest peak in the Cascade Range, Rainier’s summit is 14,411 feet above sea level amid some of the thinnest air in the nation.
  3. Mount Rainier is the tallest singular peak in the contiguous United States, with more than 25 miles of permanent ice and snow wrapped around it.
  4. Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park comprises over 235,000 acres, 97% of which are designated “wilderness.” 
  5. Mount Rainier is a stratovolcano that last erupted in 1894.
  6. Rainier soars almost a mile and a half above the Puget Sound basin. Her glistening crown stretches nearly three miles above sea level into the sky.
  7. Mount Rainier’s snowy skirts cover approximately 100 square miles or nearly one-third of the total area of the park.
  8. Located in an essentially temperate coastal region, Mount Rainier has been called “an arctic island in a temperate sea.” 
  9. Rainier’s glaciers contain enough snow and ice to provide nearly 200 years of water use by the city of Seattle.
  10. Mount Rainier boasts the largest single peak glacier system in the contiguous United States. 
  11. Standing nearly 250 feet higher than Mount Shasta, her closest rival in mass and grandeur, the Mountain is overwhelming, both in size and sculpture.
  12. From Mount Rainier’s summit one looks down upon several other mountains: The Tatoosh Range to the south; Mount Wow to the southwest; the Mother Mountains to the northwest; and upon all the ridges of the Cascade Range.
  13. A giant among giants, the Mountain reigns as mountain sovereign of the Pacific Northwest.
  14. Naturalist John Muir said of her: Of all the fire mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest…
  15. More than two million people visit this spectacular mountain every year (over half of them are from Washington State). About 10,000 try to climb it.  A little more than half succeed.

What would you add?

8 Responses

    • HikerBabe

      Thanks for commenting, Hilda! Glad you enjoyed the post. ☺

  1. Amy

    What a gorgeous and grand mountain! It sounds amazing! This may be a silly question, but Is there a road that can take you to the top?

    • HikerBabe

      Not a silly question at all, Amy. And the only way to reach the summit is NY climbing it on foot. But – a bit of Mt. Rainier trivia for you – the highest paved road in the state is the Road to Sunrise, on the east side of the Mountain. 6,400 ft.!

  2. HelloIm50ish


    I love your blog post about Mt. Rainer!
    I have never been on the ground to visit this beautiful mountain but have flown over it many times.
    As a flight attendant back in the late 70’s and 80’s I remember Mt.St. Helen’s eruption and we couldn’t fly into Washington for weeks!
    These mountains in the Pacific Northwest are so stunning!


    • HikerBabe

      Thanks for commenting, Robin. Most experts consider Mount Rainier an even more dangerous volcano than Mt. St. Helens. That’s largely because of the huge volume of glaciers and lahars that would wipe out nearby major population centers if she ever blows. I’ve seen Rainer from the air, too. Pretty impressive, huh? ☺

  3. barbieholmes2

    Hi Kristine! Mt. Rainer certainly is a jewel! I love seeing its snow cap peak from the air. Thank you for all the facts. I love facts in general, so this post is right up my alley!!

    • HikerBabe

      Thanks for commenting, Barbie! Glad you enjoyed the post. This was “the short version.” ☺