Mount Rainier National Park, established in 1899, was the fifth National Park to be established. It was also made a National Historic Landmark in 1997. Most of its buildings were built in the early 1900s, and even at that time were designed to add the rustic atmosphere. The housing and administrative buildings in Mount Rainier National Park are tastefully constructed in the fashion of the log cabins common in the west during the 1800s. The park also contains the Longmire Museum, which details the history of the park.
In the winter, Mount Rainier offers a wealth of opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing. There are several marked trails for touring the park via snowshoe or cross-country ski, which are marked out and separated by difficulty. The Mount Rainier Paradise area also has several ski trails. Also in the Mount Rainier Paradise area is several hills designated as snowplay areas, which allow sledding and snowboarding. Snowmobiles are allowed in a six and a half mile stretch in the southwest corner of the park, and also on other designated roads that are not plowed in the winter.
For those who wish to hike and camp, there are several designated areas along the hiking trails that allow for camping. For hikers who wish to stray from the beaten path are allowed to camp wherever they wish. For day hiking there are over 240 miles of well-maintained hiking trails. These trails, which are spread all over the Mount Rainier National Park allow visitors to experience the beauty of the park at their own pace. Many of the visitor's centers also offer guided tours led by rangers who are able to identify and provide background information about various plant and animal life found at the park.
Camping is also available to those who wish to remain with their cars or recreational vehicles. The campsites are all accessible by road, though some of them require high clearance vehicles to reach. The services at the campsites vary though all contain toilets and fireplaces, and none have hookups for recreational vehicles or trailers.
At Mount Rainier National Park, climbers may choose to scale Mt Rainer, and even camp on its slopes. Mt Rainer is the most heavily glaciated mountain in the United States and provides climbers with a unique challenge. There are services at around 10,000 feet, including ranger stations and lodgings. There are also zones designated for alpine camping, which allow climbers to camp on snow. Several different companies offer both day climbing lessons and guided climbs to the summit.
For children, there is a junior ranger program, which allows children to learn the duties of Mount Rainier National Park rangers as well as learn about the various forms of wildlife that inhabit the park. The rangers also offer guided hiking and snowshoe tours designed for kids, as well as more formal education opportunities.
Whether visiting Mount Rainier National Park for a day of sightseeing by car, or stopping for a week or more for intense wilderness hiking and camping, scaling the summit and camping on a peak or any combination of the three, Mount Rainier National Park is a beautiful place, full of a variety of activities so vast that anyone can find something to enchant them.