The tallest mountain in the state of Washington is Mount Rainier. It’s also one of the top 25 mountains in height in the entire world. Many visitors come to explore the natural wonders that can be seen along its slopes and foothills. Mount Rainier is so tall when compared to its sister peaks that you can see 4 different mountains at its lowest summit.
1. An Active Monster
The entire line of peaks that make up the Cascade Mountains are volcanoes, Mount Rainier included. It is also considered an active volcano even though it hasn’t erupted since 1894. This is because the region is often affected by small, but high-frequency earthquakes. On the average month, about 5 earthquakes can be felt at the summit of the mountain.
2. More Than Anyone Else
With the exception of the mountains in Alaska, Mount Rainier has more glaciers on it than any other mountain in the United States. There are 26 major glaciers. When combined with the minor glaciers and other areas of ice and snowpack, there are 35 square miles of snowfields on the mountain. These snowfields, however, are beginning to melt and produce dangerous conditions at times.
3. The Highest Lake in North America
Mount Rainier is also home to a hidden crater lake that is more than 15 feet deep and over 130 feet long. The only problem is that this lake is actually covered by over 100 feet of ice. Despite this, you can still visit this lake through a network of ice caves when there isn’t a danger of melting ice present that could collapse the cave.
4. Most People Don’t Reach the Top
The unique configuration of Mount Rainier provides it with 3 distinct summits that can be achieved. The standard hiking/climbing route takes people to Point Success, which is actually the second-tallest summit on the mountain. There is another hike across the crater to Columbia Crest that is required to achieve the true summit. Although this is only a quarter-mile walk, most travelers don’t actually make this final leg of the journey.
5. A Mighty Mud Flow
Geologists who have studied Mount Rainier over the years believe that the mountain once stood over 16,000 feet tall. Over time, however, the heat from the volcano and glacier debris fields combined to make huge mud flows that reduced the size of the mountain. If there was a major volcanic event on Mount Rainier today, it is believed that the mud flows could reach all the way to Seattle and direct affect Puget Sound, which is 85 miles away.
6. The Fifth Overall
Mount Rainier is also one of the oldest national parks in the US. It was initially founded by President William McKinley in 1899 and was the fifth overall national park. The name was given to the mountain by George Vancouver, who wanted to honor a good friend of his: Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. The local tribes have a different name for the mountain. It’s call Mount Tahoma or Tacobeh. The Louis and Clark expedition marked the mountain as Mount Regniere.
7. John Muir Hated It
One of the greatest of all US naturalists, John Muir, climbed Mount Rainier in 1888. When he discussed the event, he said that the views he saw from the summit were beyond compare. He also said that it was uncomfortable being so high up in the sky and that it would be more pleasurable to discover what was around the foot of a mountain like this one than try to keep climbing up to its summit time after time.
8. Activities Are Offered All Year
Many tall mountains don’t have any accessibility in the winter months, but not Mount Rainier. Visitors to the mountain in July or August can often experience fields of wildflowers growing on the slopes. Snow can be on the highest hiking trails until July in some years. In the winter months, skiing and snowshoeing are allowed. With more than 2 million visitors hosted every year, the best time to visit this mountain is always in the middle of the week.
9. A Game of Peek-a-Boo
One of the features that makes Mount Rainier so unique is that it can make its own clouds. Because of this, the summit of the mountain can sometimes hide for weeks at a time. With numerous waterfalls to find, a rainforest to explore, and even glaciers within easy access thanks to the installed roads, there is always something new to find on this volcano.
Mount Rainier is locally known as the “Bringer of Rain.” It is also one of the tallest and most beautiful sights to see in the US. On a clear day, it can be seen for over 100 miles in any direction. These interesting facts about Mount Rainier are just proof of why a visit to this national park should be on everyone’s bucket list.