Travel Guide for Mount Rainier, Washington

Recapping our trip to Washington with this hiking guide for Mount Rainier! I’m going to go through where we stayed, things to do in that town, the hikes we did, and the few things we did in Seattle! This was our first hiking trip and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I’m normally a beach person but going to the mountains was such a unique trip. The views were unreal, the hiking was great, and it got me out of my comfort zone. So, if you’re more of a beach person don’t count out a trip like Washington! Even if you aren’t into hiking, there are so many places you can drive to as well!

So this was our first hiking trip and I am in no way an expert! Make sure you do your own research before you go because hiking is no joke. You want to be well prepared and safe. Talk to rangers every day before you go out for the hikes you have planned because they know 1000x more information than you can find on the internet. Just a friendly disclosure that I’m not an expert and this is just what we did as newbie hikers!

Where to Hike In Washington

Where We Stayed:

cabin in washington

Here’s the link to the Airbnb we stayed in! link here

We loved this place! Read the reviews though. The only complaint people had is that it’s not as secluded as it looks in pictures but we knew that ahead of time! It was super clean, cute, close to town, and the perfect vibes. We had nothing but good things to say!

It was about an hour drive from most hikes but I think unless you camp that will be the case. It took about 20-30 minutes once we were in Mount Rainier just to get to the hike we wanted. You have to drive pretty slow and everyone is stopping to look at the views.

What To Do In Packwood:

We got coffee a lot of mornings at the Mountain Goat Coffee Shop. They had lots of options and their pastries looked amazing! It was just a few minutes from where we stayed. The way Packwood is set up, you can walk around to a lot of different places once you’re in town. So you could grab coffee and go to a few shops.

There’s a grocery store in town that had everything we needed! It was just a few minutes away from where we stayed too, really close to the coffee shop.

packwood brewery

A few nights after we hiked, we stopped by the Packwood Brewing Co. They also had amazing nachos! It was dog friendly as well and lots of people had their dogs there. Of course then I just spent the evening talking to Eli about how I missed the dogs haha.

packwood washington brewery
Where to Hike In Washington

Day 1:

The first day we hiked, it was pretty foggy that morning. We were expecting to have some days that the weather wasn’t perfect so we weren’t too disappointed. We decided to still head into Mount Rainier National Park and see what hikes we wanted to do.

We hiked the Rampart Ridge Loop Trail first which was a great trail. It was 4.8 miles and wasn’t too crowded. The problem was it was pretty foggy so we didn’t have any amazing views. If you are able to do it on a clear day, I bet the views are great just based on the pictures! We still enjoyed the hike and felt pretty safe even with the fog.

hiking on the rampart ridge loop trail

After that hike, we took a lunch and coffee break. They had a spot by the trailhead to get coffee so we got some lattes to get our energy back up for another hike. I’m so glad we did because the next hike had breathtaking views!

Where to Hike In Washington

Our second hike was the Bench and Snow Lakes Trail and it was 2.2 miles. This trail was so cool because the last lake, snow lake, is so so pretty! We did have to hike on some snow to get there. The trail wasn’t super well marked so make sure you have some GPS navigation of some kind to get there! It was only about a 2 mile trail so not too far and not too difficult! You could also camp right by the lake which seemed like a dream!

Where to Hike In Washington

The fog cleared for a little bit so we have the best view! It didn’t stay away long though so we headed back to the cabin after this hike.

Day 2:

The weather was supposed to be a lot nicer this day so we wanted to do a longer hike that also had some good views. We had a park ranger recommend this hike, the Glacier Basin Trail. We were so thankful for this recommendation because it was such a good hike! It was 7.8 miles out and back. The first half was all uphill but it was never that steep. You had some beautiful views at the end of the hike. I believe this hike connected to more if you’re looking to do a longer hike, that’s something to look into.

This was the only hike we did this day but it was tough enough that we were pretty tired at the end. It felt safe the whole time and was very enjoyable!

glacier basin hiking
Where to Hike In Washington

Day 3:

Now this was an interesting day haha. The weather looked great again so we decided to head up to Sunrise in Mount Rainier. The road is closed until July so this was the first weekend that is was open. I was pretty nervous about hiking up here because a lot of the trails were still mostly snow covered. I don’t mind hiking on snow but when I’m on the side of a cliff and have the possibility of slipping… I get a little anxious. I am terrified of heights so that doesn’t help either.

We tried to do the Burroughs Mountain Trail first. This is a 9 mile trail that is supposed to have some of the best views in the park. We got about a mile in and there was one section that got really skinny as you went around the edge of a cliff. It was still snow covered so we decided to turn around because it just seemed a little risky for what we wanted. They say to always trust your gut so that’s what we did. I’m sure we would’ve been fine but there were so many other trails to do it didn’t seem worth the risk.

We headed back down and found another trail that was 3 miles. This one was Dege Peak Trail. The pictures below, it’s the one with the very narrow trail and the lake. This one didn’t have any snow but was very steep and the trail at some points is so thin you have to put one foot in front of the other. It was an out and back trail so we made it about 1 mile in again and turned around. It was getting pretty steep/narrow and we had already seen some really pretty views.

Where to Hike In Washington

If you guys have been following along on my Instagram stories when we really started hiking in the spring, you know Eli loves the All Trails app. That’s what we used on this trip! We tracked every hike on the app and downloaded the maps ahead of time in case we lost service. Highly recommend!

Well, Eli loves checking hikes off on the app and having them completed. So we were 0/2 on completing hikes that day. We decided to do a hike that wasn’t at a high elevation to avoid the snow/steep cliffs.

Our last hike was the Owyhigh Lakes Trail which is a 7.5 mile hike. It was exactly what we needed! The hike wasn’t super flat but also not that steep. It has some hills but was never super narrow. You were in the woods for awhile before it opened up to give you views of the mountain and a lake. Compared to the other lakes we had seen, this one was pretty underwhelming. But we got to see lots of wildflowers! Even with the disappointing lake, this was a great hike!

hiking in washington

Day 4:

This hike was my pick of the trip! We did the Packwood Lake Trail this day. This was located only about 20 minutes from where we stayed so not a bad drive at all. It was an 11 mile out and back hike. We planned to be here all day because there’s a lake you can swim in! We had read reviews ahead of time that people had swam recently because I was worried the water would be freezing.

This is place is 10x more beautiful in person. The hike to actually get to the lake I think was around 4 miles and then you can walk around the lake to finish the hike. There’s a lot of spots to swim! It was not crowded at all and was so so peaceful.

packwood lake

We didn’t swim for long because it was kind of cold haha. I think if we had gone in August it would have been perfect!

packwood lake

Day 5:

Our last day! We checked out of our Airbnb in the morning and did one more hike on our way out of town. We went to Paradise in Mount Rainier and did the Panorama Point Hike. This felt like the perfect last hike! It was 4 miles and you truly had a panoramic view of the park. It was about 50% snow covered and pretty crowded. The trail still felt safe but again, check with the park rangers to see what they think! We had snow poles which I think helped a lot.

Where to Hike In Washington

After that hike, we headed to Seattle for dinner! We walked around by the water and went to the Pikes Place Market but it was July 5th so a lot of things were closed to celebrate the 4th. We ate dinner at The Crab Pot, we had to wait 2 hours but it was worth it! We walked around while we waited and stopped at a brewery.

brewery in seattle
Where to Hike In Washington

Overall, we had an amazing trip! We had nearly perfect weather, enjoyed a night in Seattle, and went on so many amazing hikes. I hope this hiking guide for Mount Rainier was helpful! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!