One on the most stunning peaks on the planet, Mount Rainier is home to year-round recreation, and it's just a short drive from Tacoma and Pierce County.
Mt. Rainier National Park is accessible through five different developed areas, the closest to Tacoma being the Longmire visitor area. Here's you'll take postcard-worthy photos (or simply enjoy breathtaking views) of waterfalls from the road and trailside. Paradise, the park’s main visitor area, offers trails that vary in difficulty and sight lines and during the spring and summer, the entire area is blanketed in wildflowers. The Paradise Jackson Visitor Center is the perfect place to start your Rainier explorations or to catch a between hike breather. Many areas within these three entrances are inaccessible during winter, so be sure to check travel information for road and weather conditions.
For an alternative view of Rainier, attendees can ride the Mt. Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain Resort to the peak to see the panorama from altitude. Once there, they can enjoy the Summit House Restaurant, a great spot to find a bite and an unobstructed view of the mountain. Another option is an excursion along the foothills via Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum in Elbe, complete with a comprehensive collection of steam logging locomotives and a steam-powered train that can host groups and private parties.
For recreation closer to Tacoma, Point Defiance Park fits the bill. At 760 acres, it is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. Highlights include the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, extensive specialized gardens, Owen Beach, and Five Mile Drive. Direct attendees to the visitor center for information on ranger-led nature walks, walking tours, a “Coffee with Birds” program with Tahoma Audubon, and more.