“What are good hikes for kids at Mt.Rainier?”
This is one of the most popular questions we get here at Sounds Fun Mom. There are so many great hikes at Mt.Rainier, including lots that are suitable for children.
Choosing just a few is hard, but we gave it a shot! Of course, we’d love to hear your favorites, too. Note: These are primarily hikes for the summer months. Always check trail conditions before you head out.
We’ve tried to give you enough info here to help you choose. The Mountain is big, so you’ll want to pick a hike based on how far you want to go, what you want to see (mountain vistas? waterfalls? big trees?), and, of course, on the skill and endurance of your little hikers. Do be sure to take the 10 essentials on any outing.
We’ve also linked to the always helpful Wta.org through out this post. Be sure to check recent trip reports for up-to-date information.
- Grove of the Patriarchs Easy, magical hike that goes over a bridge to an island of some of the state’s oldest trees. You won’t get mountain views here, but the trees are truly other worldly, and kids love the bridge. Short and easy! You may want to combine the first part of this hike with the Silver Falls hike (see below). Open as of 6/5/2020; you will need a national park pass.
- Sunrise Nature Trail this little 1.5 mile hike is the first section of the Sourdough Ridge trail and starts straight behind the visitor’s center. Great views of the mountain. The Sunrise area is open as of 7/8/2020, but there may still be snow, so you are asked to prepare for winter like conditions. It sounds like the visitors’ center is still closed.
- Silver Falls Starting in the Ohanapecosh campground, this easy hike ends at a beautiful waterfall and never gains much elevation. I will tell you it took us 3 times to finish it-it’s an easy hike, but it’s a hike, not a walk! There are some alternate ways to get there if you want a shorter distance. Be sure to check out the visitor’s center/ranger station while you’re here. There is also a super short nature walk. You don’t need to stay at the campground to do any of them. The trail is open as of 6/5/2020; you will need a National Park Pass. I am not sure on the status of the visitor center.
- Naches Peak Loop A longer hike that does gain some elevation, but there are lots of postcard worthy views around every corner. This might be my favorite hike in the park. Do make sure to go clockwise! This is the one I’d do with out of state visitors-assuming they’re reasonably fit. This hike starts at Tipsoo Lake. If you just want a picnic and a walkabout, you could just hang out there! Open as of 6/5/2020, though the snow still looks significant in recent trip reports. You will need a National Park Pass.
- Bench and Snow Lakes Easy hike to a pair of pretty alpine lakes with the option of water play in the summer months. These are particularly popular, so expect company! We have a more detailed hike report for this one here. Reopened as of 6/5. You will need a national park pass.
Be sure to check the comments on this post for other recommendations!
Any guidebook or ranger can give you more detail about these hikes or suggest others. I also always recommend Joan Burton’s excellent book, Best Hikes With Kids (my affiliate link). If you’re ready for longer adventures, the Mountaineers guides are the best imho.
The Washington Trails Association is also an excellent resource. You can use their site to search for hikes by feature-dog friendly, waterfalls, etc. It’s a lot of fun to explore. A lot of folks also like the All Trails app. I prefer the WTA site because folks leave really detailed trip reports so you can check out the current conditions before you go.
We’d love to hear about the hikes you have planned for the summer!