Guide to Mt Rainier National Park with kids

Mt. Rainier National Park is a Washington state icon.

By Grace Koelma

Mount Rainier National Park: a guide with kids

Know before you go

Mt. Rainier National Park is a Washington state gem, and its iconic snow capped peak is a fixture of the Seattle skyline.

  • The national park is a glorious landscape of sub-alpine meadows, wildflowers (in season), lakes, waterfalls and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • It's open year round, but its peak visitor season is July and August, when the alpine wildflowers bloom in the meadows. 
  • You'll need a park's pass to visit the pass. You can pay the entrance fee or purchase an annual or lifetime pass at any park entrance station. If the station is unstaffed when you arrive, you can pay on your exit. You must display your 7-day or annual pass clearly in your windscreen window at all times. Rangers do patrol. More information here.
  • You are likely to see wildlife on the trail (we saw deer grazing), so use common sense and don't get too close or offer food, or attempt to touch.

Spot the deer grazing at the vibrant  foothills, bursting with colour.

Hikes and photography locations

  • Our top recommendations (photography and general hiking) are Tipsoo Lake (and Little Tipsoo Lake), Paradise meadow and Skyline trail, Sunrise area and Christine Falls.
  • The hikes vary in difficulty, and children between the ages of 3-6 may struggle with the distance (being too heavy to carry easily) so check with the guides at the Henry M Jackson Visitor Centre before attempting with children.
  • We unfortunately only had a day to spend here, but wished we had longer because the scenery is stunning and the park is large (we'd recommend 3 days to explore it all if you have time).
  • Check out this excellent guide by Renee Roaming for a more detailed itinerary and recommendations. 

Sunrise view of Mt Rainier from Little Tipsoo Lake.

Vivid autumn colours. In summer, these are patches of wildflowers. 

Frolicking in the alpine meadows

The air is so pure up there.

Viewpoint in the Paradise meadows.

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Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

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