A trip to Mt. Rainier National Park in BMW X3M40i & Porsche Boxster S

The return drive via. the mountain ghats is one of my most favorite drive in Washington as beautiful road surface, snaky roads and powerful cars means that we are clipping at a very, very good pace.

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Ever since the last quick visit in August 2023, I have been yearning to visit Mt. Rainier and due to various reasons could not make it, though it’s right in our backyard. Last October, I had even bought the America National Parks pass for $80 that is valid for all National Parks in entire US for a period of 1-year and not been to even a single park since then, so I wanted to put that to good use as well.

Mt. Rainier is located south-east of Seattle and is visible from most locations in Greater Seattle area on a clear day while driving on a freeway, downtown Seattle or some backroads. We love the fact that it’s so easily accessible due to its proximity to Seattle and also due to its perfectly triangular shape that adds to its surreal beauty.

Mt. Rainier National Park offers multiple activities like Multiple Hiking trails, Snowshoeing, Skiing, Camping and the generic sight-seeing.

This is one of the 3 National Parks in Washington and, I always look forward to going back to this amazing national park at least 3-times in a year (Summer, Fall and Winters) as it’s a 2-hours’ drive and/or, 125 miles from home.

Due to its raging popularity, this park attracts lot of visitors including several tourists from out-of-state and every summer, there are long queues and difficulty in parking. So, the authorities decided to try a new reservation system. For weekends (Friday-Sunday), you have to book on their website in advance to enter the park. They give you a 2-hour slot (7-9am or 9-11am etc.) to enter the park and costs $2 for the reservation. You are supposed to enter the park in the time slot provided and there is no time-limit to exit.

A fun fact:

Mt. Rainier is almost half the size of Mt. Everest at 14,400 feet. It’s an active volcanic mountain. More details here:

Washington has the most amount of mountain ranges (64) in entire contiguous US. We have 3709 mountains in the state which is the highest in any state of US. 

That fun fact out of the way, we booked the 11am-1pm slot, and it was 2 families (BHPian Crackhead and I) in our respective cars. Since our days have becoming longer (Sunset is now at 9:30pm), We left home leisurely around 9:30am and after a lovely breakfast stop at Starbucks, we reached the park entrance at 12:30pm.

There was a huge line of cars waiting to enter the park and it took us an excruciating 1:30 hour to enter the park and finally at 2:00pm we reached the visitor center and found a nice parking spot right on the base from where we decided to do a short hike.

Before reaching the visitor center, we stopped at a few places enroute and also decided to have a quick lunch of lemon rice that we got along.

At the visitor center, I ensured my mom is comfortable in their sofas and rest of us decided to hike up. The sight of Mt. Rainier stunned us as I never saw so much snow in June and we were completely unprepared as we all were in our sneakers and didn’t carry our hiking boots. We thought of going up a little bit and turn back but, when the sights kept getting better, we took the trail and kept walking up for about 2-miles one-way. 

It was a treacherous hike from the corner of the ledge of the mountain with deep valley on our right with our feet slipping and slithering in the snow due to the wrong footwear. But, the views that was waiting for us blew everybody’s brains out. It was spectacular, breathtaking and all other adjectives you can think of. I never saw Mt. Rainier up front with so much snow at this time of the year. We had done a 10-mile hike back in August 2022 which was one of the best hikes of my life but, most of the snow had melted by then. This was like witnessing full glaciers. Super glad that we could see Mt. Rainier in its full glory.

We were almost on the face of one of the glaciers of Mt. Rainier and this is just one of the glaciers. It almost felt like we were at the base camp of Mt. Everest or actually summited Mt. Rainier. LOL!

Our entire hike took us about 3-hours (1 hour-to go up, 1-hour to enjoy the views, 1-hour to come back). Weather was beautiful. It was a warm 12C and most of the time the sun was shining brightly except a little while when it got dark and cloudy. On the way back, due to the sun the snow had melted, and we all had several falls which was enjoyable as none of us got hurt.

After coming back to the visitor center/parking lot, we drove to our next stop which was about 3-miles on our way down- Reflection Lake 

Reflection Lake is a beautiful lake in Mount Rainier that can be seen from the top as well (We did a hike of 10 miles back in 2022) and it was visible from a very high altitude. This is lake is named thus due to the Mountain reflection in the lake which is an absolutely gorgeous sight. But, due to the snow, the whole lake was frozen, so we just walked on the frozen lake and enjoyed some time there before heading back down to the plains.

 The return drive via. the mountain ghats is one of my most favorite drive in Washington as beautiful road surface, snaky roads and powerful cars means that we are clipping at a very, very good pace.

After we came down from the mountains, we stopped in a beautiful, small, quaint town of Elum Claw, WA for a delicious Mexican dinner and ice-creams before driving back home to reach at 11:00pm.

It was a blissful day in the mountains and one of the most memorable sights of the mighty “Mt. Rainier” in a long time.

P.S: All pictures taken with my iPhone 15 ProMax. You can click the pictures and view them in full resolution.

Hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of “Shaan of our state”- Mt. Rainier.

Cheers & Thanks for checking it out


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