Mount Rainier National Park is located in west-central Washington and is ideal for hiking, mountain climbing and scenic drives. Most roads are open from late May to early October, which allow for both stunning views and access to a wide range of hiking trails and other sites. Hikers will find forests with cedar, hemlock, and fir trees as well as streams and wildflower meadows. On Rainier's alpine slopes, visitors will find firs, glaciers, and tundra. Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the most prominent peak in the Cascades, and it is covered by 26 named glaciers including Carbon Glacier and Emmons Glacier, the largest in the continental United States. The mountain is popular for climbing, and more than half of the park is covered by subalpine and alpine forests. Paradise on the south slope is one of the snowiest places in the world, and the Longmire visitor center is the start of the Wonderland Trail, which encircles the mountain.
I'd say this was an easy trail, pretty steep in places but the switchbacks leveled it out nice. The falls were beautiful and the lake was amazing. The trail is clearly marked from the road so you don't have to worry about missing it. From where we parked it was about 13 miles round trip.
Spectacular day on Mt. Rainier. The road up to Paradise was icy in spots but not enough to need chains. Lots of people for a week day, parking lot 3/4 full when I arrived and continuing to fill.
I decided to hike the Skyline trail counter-clockwise so headed down the road and up to Mazama Ridge via the 4th Crossing trail. Met only two other groups of snowshoers and wondered where all the people went when I saw how many little black dots were on the Muir snowfield. Looked like a line of little black ants.
Near the junction to Paradise Glacier I ran into a couple who suggested avoiding the trail on up to Panorama Point because of the copious cornices. Sounded like sound advice so I headed on up the Paradise Glacier trail, turning around just past where the end of the maintained trail would be if you could see it.
Gorgeous views in every direction. Sun, sun, sun! Don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses!