A lifetime of discovery awaits as Mount Rainier stands as one of the most iconic landscapes in Washington. It’s an active volcano that spawns five major rivers. Wildflower meadows surround Mount Rainier while the lower slopes are surrounded by forests.
The best time to visit Mount Rainier is July and August when the weather is warm. Temperatures during this time average 42 F (5.9 C) and 63 F (17.4 C) degrees with little to zero rainfall. When it comes to booking your trip, you can find flights for as low as $120 and hotels from $140 per night.
When traveling to a destination such as Mount Rainier, you’ll want to weigh the factors that help you know when to plan your vacation. Let’s dive into the best time to visit Mount Rainier.
Worst Time to Travel to Mount Rainier
Credit: Earl’s Photos
When traveling to Mount Rainier, you’ll want to take into consideration the current season, climate conditions, and busiest time of year. The worst time to visit Mount Rainier is from November through March. During this period, Mount Rainier sees huge amounts of snowfall.
With record amounts of snowfall, you’ll have to deal with the frigid cold temperatures. Along with the weather, some of the park entrances won’t be open during this time.
When is the Cheapest Time to go to Mount Rainier?
The cheapest time to take a vacation to Mount Rainier is in December or January. Let’s break down some rates so you can have the best prices possible when trying to plan a budget-friendly trip.
When booking the cheapest trip to Mount Rainier, the most affordable that you’ll find is $340 per person for a roundtrip flight. When wanting to make your trip budget-friendly, you’ll want to book far in advance to get the best rates.
For the cheapest rates on accommodations, you can find hotels priced around $120 per night. If you’re on a budget when booking, look for a hotel that comes with extras such as an included breakfast. Costs vary per month so make sure to plan your trip three to six months in advance.
What Time of Year is the Best Weather in Mount Rainier?
Credit: Serge Yatunin
When planning your vacation to Mount Rainier, you’ll want to go when the weather is permitting and deals are at their lowest. Below, we discuss the weather by month so that you can choose the best time to visit for you and your family.
January: Ranger-Guided Snowshoe Walk
Credit: Lukas Gojda
Temperatures average between 22 F (-5.3 C) and 34 F (1.6 C) during January at Mount Rainier. During January, rain falls for 21 days out of the month with accumulations of around 18 inches. Mount Rainier also sees about 18 inches of snowfall during this month.
If you’re planning to travel during this time, you’ll want to pack plenty of layers, a coat, and any other snow gear to prepare for inclement weather. During this, you can plan to schedule a ranger-guided snowshoe walk. During this walk, your guide will show you the art of snowshoeing.
You’ll discover how plants, animals, and humans adapt to the wintry conditions at Mount Rainier.
- Ranger-guided snowshoe walk
- Skiing and snowboarding
February: Paradise Sledding & Sliding
Credit: Fedor Selivanov
Temperatures average between 22 F (-5.5 C) and 35.8 F (2.1 C) during February at Mount Rainer. February, like January, is still a cold wintry month. It rains for 17 days out of the month with accumulations of around 17 inches and receives around 91 inches of snow accumulations.
If you’re planning to travel around this month, you’ll want to pack your snow gear, boots, coat, and extra warm layers. During this month, you can go to Paradise Sledding & Sliding. The Paradise area is the only official safe-sledding place.
While sledding, you should use soft-sliding devices, flexible sleds, tubes, and saucers.
- Paradise Sledding & Sliding
- Winter Camping
Credit: Wlad Go
Temperatures average between 37 F (3.3 C) and 23 F (-4.6 C) during March at Mount Rainier. March is the first month of spring and still a cold month like January and February. It is still one of the months with the most amount of snowfall seeing around 90 inches of snow accumulations.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack snow gear, boots, a coat, gloves, a hat, and plenty of warm layers. During this month, you can schedule to go snowmobiling. Along sections of the park, there are certain sections where you’ll be allowed to go snowmobiling.
Before venturing off, you’ll want to double-check with rangers just what areas are allowed to be navigated through.
- Hike White River Trail
- Visit Copper Creek Hut
April: Visit Reflection Lake
Credit: Always Wanderlust
Temperatures average between 42 F (5.6 C) and 25 F (-3.4 C) during April at Mount Rainier. April is another cold spring month with temperatures warming up only slightly. It snows for around 14 days out of the month seeing about 67 inches of snow accumulation.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack a coat, boots, and plenty of warm layers. During this month, you can visit Reflection Lake. If you can travel here on a clear day, it’s possible to catch the reflection of Mount Rainier in Reflection Lake.
Many visitors love this area to snap a photo-worthy memory of their trip.
- Visit Reflection Lake
- Have brunch at Paradise Inn
- Spend time in Paradise
Related Read: 25 Best Waterfalls in Washington State
May: Visit Myrtle Falls
Temperatures average between 49 F (9.6 C) and 31 F (-0.1 C) during May at Mount Rainier. May is the last month of spring and a relatively chilly month. It snows for around 8 days with around 26 inches of snow accumulations.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack a coat, pants, sweaters, gloves, and your boots or sneakers. During this month, you can visit Myrtle Falls. Myrtle Falls has one of the prettiest views that you’ll want to add to your to-do list.
It is located in Paradise and is an easy walk on the paved trail that takes around 1 round trip.
- Visit Myrtle Falls
- Visit Longmire
- Walk the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail
June: Ride the Mount Rainier Gondola to Crystal Mountain
Temperatures average between 54 F (12 C) and 36 F (2.3 C) during June at Mount Rainier. In June, the temperatures gradually increase from chilly to fresh. It rains for 12 days out of the month seeing around 4 inches of precipitation.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack pants, sweaters, a coat, and your walking shoes. During this month, you can ride the Mount Rainier gondola to Crystal mountain. If you want jaw-dropping views for very little effort, this is one of the best things you can add to your list.
From the resort, you can ride the gondola up to Crystal Mountain. Located at the top is Summit House Restaurant where you can dine out using their outdoor patio.
- Ride the Mount Rainier gondola to Crystal Mountain
- Visit Sunrise
- Hike Naches Peak Loop
July: Hike the Wonderland Trail
Credit: Dmitry Kovba
Temperatures average between 42 F (5.9 C) and 63 F (17.4 C) during July at Mount Rainier. The temperatures in July increase from cool to enjoyable. July is the month with the least amount of rainfall, raining for 7 days out of the month and seeing only 2 inches of precipitation.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack a coat, jacket, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, and tour boots or sneakers. During this month, you can hike the wonderland trail. The wonderland trail is a 93-mile trail that navigates around Mount Rainier.
This hike will take you around 9 to 13 days to complete the entire loop. You’ll cross rivers and streams, walk through canyons, and get to see Mount Rainier in every direction.
- Hike the wonderland trail
- Hike Spray Park
- Hike Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout
Related Read: 30 Top Treehouse Rentals in Washington
August: Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Temperatures average between 43 F (6.6 C) and 64 F (18.1 C) during August at Mount Rainier. August is the last month of summer and another comfortable month temperature-wise. During this month it rains for 6 days out of the month with around 2 inches of precipitation.
If you’re planning to travel during this time, you’ll want to pack a jacket, pants, t-shirts, and a good pair of walking shoes. During this month, you can take a hot air balloon ride. If you want to see Mount Rainier, grab your family and book one of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
- Take a hot air balloon ride
- Go stargazing
- Bike West Side Road
September: Visit the Temperate Rainforest
Credit: Roman Khomlyak
Temperatures average between 58 F (14 C) and 39 F (4 C) during September at Mount Rainer. September is the first month of autumn and a moderately cool month. The month will see about 9 days of rain with 4 inches of precipitation.
If you’re planning to travel during this time, you’ll want to pack a coat, jacket, t-shirts, sweaters, and walking shoes. During this month, you can visit the temperate rainforest. The temperate rainforest is located in the northwestern corner of the park.
It’s covered in hanging moss, towering firs, and endless parades of ferns that offer peace and tranquillity in the park.
- Visit the Temperate Rainforest
- Hike to Silver Falls
- Hike to the Wildlife Park
- Walk the wildflower and nature trails
October: Explore White River
Credit: Jennifer White Maxwell
Temperatures average between 47 F (8.8 C) and 32 F (0.2 C) during October at Mount Rainier. October is a frosty autumn month with temperatures decreasing from moderately cool to frosty. Mount Rainier can see around 10 inches of precipitation and 24 inches of snowfall.
If you’re planning to travel this month, you’ll want to pack your coat, warm layers, and a pair of boots. During this month, you can explore the White River on weather-permitting days. White River is one of the hidden gems you can go to escape crowds.
This would be perfect for those who enjoy hiking.
- Explore White River
- Visit Green Lake Trail
- Visit Greenwater Lakes
Related Read: 15 BEST Water Parks in Washington State
November: Snow Camping
Temperatures average between 24 F (-4.1 C) and 37 F (2.9 C) during November at Mount Rainier. November is the last month of autumn and another cold month. In November it snows for 16 days out of the month, receiving around 120 inches in snow accumulation.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack your coat, a hat, gloves, scarf, plenty of warm layers, and your snow boots. During this month, you’ll want to check out snow camping. If you’re brave enough to camp out in freezing temperatures, you’ll enjoy camping in the Tattoosh Mountains.
- Snow camping
- Outfitters horseback riding
- Elk feeding at oak creek
December: Elk Feeding at Oak Creek
Temperatures average between 21 F (-6.1 C) and 33 F (1 C) during December at Mount Rainier. December is the first month of winter and a cold month at Mount Rainier. It is the most with the most snowfall, snowing for 19 days and seeing around 124 inches of snow accumulation.
If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack your snow gear and plenty of warm layers. During this month, you can go elk feeding at Oak Creek. This is a winter feeding program that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year, even in severe weather.
- Elk feeding at oak creek
- Drive your vehicle around the northwest trek
- Spend a night at Crystal Mountain resort.
What is the Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier With Family?
Credit: Aleksei Potov
Mount Rainier is a great place to travel any time of year, but some seasons may be more convenient than others. The best time to visit Mount Rainier is from July to September for summer activities.
Even though summer is the best time to visit Mount Rainier with family, it is also the busiest time of year. When visiting, you’ll want to go mid-week when it’s less crowded. To help avoid long wait times, you can plan your visit anywhere before 10 AM or after 2:30 PM.
When is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds in Mount Rainier?
The best time to avoid crowds in Mount Rainier is in early September. July and August are usually peak tourism times, but if you want to avoid crowds, tourists start to diminish around this time.
There are easy ways you can avoid crowds and get a parking spot even on days when it seems to be a little more crowded. Arrive at Mount Rainier before 10 AM by getting a close hotel. You can also arrive mid-week or between 5 PM and 6 PM when the majority of tourists have left.
Related Read: Western National Parks Road Trip: U.S.A
When is the Best Time To Climb Mount Rainer?
Credit: Rajat Chamria
The best time to climb Mount Rainier is during July and August. This is peak climbing season and the time of year when the weather is at its best. It’s also the time when the majority of ascents take place and several guides take trips on the mountain.
While having good weather, this is also the time when avalanche risks are at their lowest or non-existent. If you’re up for the adventure, it’s worth the climb!