Mount Rainier National Park
This park, located to the southeast of Seattle, in the US State of Washington, was established in 1899 when President William McKinley signed the document to create it.
It consists of 235,625 acres, 97% of which is designated wilderness. It includes Mount Rainier (14,410′), an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1997 as a showcase for the “NPS Rustic” style architecture of the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1900, the Longmires, a pioneer family who developed Longmire’s Springs, erected an inn, a barn, two bath houses, one storehouse, and two small shacks on their mineral claim.
In 1904, the Corps of Engineers moved their construction camp to Longmire Springs and built a cabin to be used as an office. The first contract for construction of the new “Government road” from the park boundary to Paradise was awarded to A. D. Miller.
In the autumn of 1911, President William Howard Taft visited the park. After lunch at the National Park Inn at Longmire, he made the trip to Paradise Valley and Camp of the Clouds in his touring car.
The road from Longmire to Paradise was opened to unrestricted traffic in the summer of 1924. A road was completed later that summer from the Carbon River entrance to Cataract Creek.
In 1942, with the entry of the US into World War II, public travel restrictions were in effect. Paradise and the upper slopes of Mount Rainier were used by military ski troopers for winter training, using methods developed by the Finnish army, and developing new tactics and equipment.
The mountain is a volcano, born of fire and built up above the surrounding country by repeated eruptions and successive flows of lava.
The slow, inevitable power of glaciers began to shape and form it.
The process of shaping and forming continues today and will alter the mountain in the future. In 1971, a world record snowfall of 1027 inches was recorded at Paradise.
Historically, five American Indian tribes occupied the area around Mount Rainier: Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, Yakama, and Taidnapam (Upper Cowlitz).
They came to the park in the summer and early fall to hunt and to collect berries and other plant resources, and continued to pursue these activities even after the park was formed in 1899.
There are seventy-nine known archaeological sites in the park, of which only sixty-two have been fully documented and recorded.
See map of the park.
We would like to thank the following who were helpful in supplying information for this page:
- Curt Jacquot, Park Ranger, Mount Rainer National Park
- National Park Service
- David Biek, author of The Flora of Mount Rainier National Park
- a former website by Michael Moore, of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, Bisbee, Arizona, was also very useful in locating many common names of flora
(This page was updated in November 2012.)