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Massive beyond comprehension, Mt. Rainier pushes 14,410 feet skyward just 50 miles south of Seattle. Encircling the glacier-clad hulk is one of the nation’s great hiking routes, the 93-mile Wonderland Trail. Weekend warriors can bite off any of a variety of short segments, mostly out-and-back hikes or two-car shuttles that cross alpine tundra and pass through old-growth forests and wildflower extravaganzas.
RECOMMENDED HIKE: From Sunrise Visitor Center (6,400 feet) walk 9.4 miles west to Mystic Camp. Explore westward toward the Carbon Glacier before hiking back to the car the next day.
WHERE: The park is located 90 miles (2 hours) south of Seattle and 150 miles (31/2 hours) north of Portland. Sunrise Visitor Center is located on the east side of Mt. Rainier.
MAPS: Green Trails Maps sells the excellent Mt. Rainier East (#270) and Mt. Rainier West (#269) for $3.30 apiece (P.O. Box 77734, Seattle, WA 98177; 206-546-6277).
CONTACT: Outdoor Recreation Information Center, 222 Yale Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109-5429; (206) 470-4060.