When is the Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park?

Deciding when to visit Mt. Rainier should be one of the first things on your list in making your travel plans. Your interests, attractions you want to see, the weather, getting timed entry reservations, and peak seasons can help you figure out when to go.  

I’m James and I’m a national park expert. In this article, I’ll give you a quick summary of the best time to visit Mt. Rainier National Park so you can decide what suits you.

While this is my choice for the best time to go to Mount Rainier National Park, the park is great throughout the year.  I have provided a detailed breakdown by season and every month so you can easily see what to expect and then make your own choice.

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Four photos of the view of wildflowers with different colors below the mountain and surrounded by trees, with the text, The Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park.
Two photos of the view of wildflowers with different colors below the mountain and surrounded by trees, with the text, Mount Rainier National Park Best Time to Visit

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The Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park In a Nutshell

Aerial view of a snow-capped mountain surrounded by clouds in Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is open all year round so you’ll have different experiences each season. The best time of year to visit Mount Rainier is the summer months, but the fall and winter seasons are equally beautiful. 

  • Mid-July to Mid-August: The summer season is at its fullest and crowds are plenty, but the weather is warm, everything is open, and this is when the wildflowers are at their peak
  • Early September to early October: Crowds are fewer and spectacular fall foliage takes in. 
  • Mid-October to January: Winter weather welcomes park visitors.  Only a few places in the park are open, but if you enjoy winter activities, this is a great time to visit.

Mount Rainier National Park Weather

The weather in Mount Rainier National Park presents short peak seasons and longer cold seasons. So the best time to go to Mount Rainier depends on what activities you plan to do.

Pine trees covered with snow in Mount Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier weather conditions are fairly unpredictable since the weather is affected not only by the region (Pacific Northwest), but also by altitude.  The mountain creates its own weather system and this can change suddenly throughout the day.  

Rains are more likely around spring, fall, and winter seasons, but the Mount Rainier climate is cool and rainy even in the driest seasons in July and August. 

It snows a lot in winter – and you’ll often find snow on popular hiking trails well into July. 

If you plan to go hiking or mountain climbing, make sure you’re aware of Mt. Rainier National Park weather updates and alerts. It’s also best to prepare tents, extra clothing, and gear for the changing weather in Mount Rainier National Park. 

Also, if you’re driving to the park in winter months, the only available entrance you can access is the southwest Nisqually Entrance going to Paradise. You can still drive up to the Carbon River Entrance but beyond that, you need to go on foot or bike. 


Best Time To Visit Mt Rainier Wildflowers

Colorful wildflowers and behind are pine trees and a huge snow-capped mountain in Mount Rainier National Park

July and August are the best times to see the colorful wildflowers. Mt. Rainier is also the busiest during these summer months. The first weeks of August are the peak season for wildflowers. Mt Rainier National Park has plenty of trails where you can see these beautiful sights. 


When is the best time of year to visit Mt Rainier National Park (for different interests)?

The best weather

July and August have the most pleasant weather Mt. Rainier has to offer. 

The best time to see the wildflowers

The wildflowers are in peak bloom from Mid-July until the first weeks of August 

The best time to avoid the crowds

If you want to visit Mount Rainier without the crowds, September until the winter months from November to March are the best months to go.

The best time to travel to Mount Rainier National Park (summer)

Even though they are also the busiest months, July and August are the best months for Mt Rainier National Park. Summer season is when all park facilities open. 

The best time to travel on a budget

December and January are generally the least expensive times to go to Mount Rainier.

The best time to have a winter adventure in Mount Rainier National Park

December to January are great times for a winter adventure.

The worst time to visit Mount Rainier National Park

November and March are my least favorite times to visit Mount Rainier National Park.

Check my detailed breakdown of what to expect every month in the year for much more detailed information.


Travel Insurance for Olympic National Park  

No matter what when you go to Olympic National Park, you should definitely get travel insurance.  This can protect you not only against medical and emergency repatriation, but can also cover things like trip cancellation, loss and/ or theft of property, etc. 

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can compare Travel Insurance plans here or get a quote right now:

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Enjoy Mount Rainier National Park!

You might also like

Mount Rainier National Park Guide
Which airports to choose for Mt Rainier National Park
20 Best Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park
How To Get to Mount Rainier National Park 


What do you think is the best time to visit Rainier National Park?  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know (you can also pick up extra planning tips, share your photos and stories with other national park lovers and more).

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Two photos of the view of wildflowers with different colors below the mountain and surrounded by trees, with the text, Mount Rainier National Park Best Time to Visit
Four photos of the view of wildflowers with different colors below the mountain and surrounded by trees, with the text, The Best Time to Visit Mount Rainier National Park.
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About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and most of the national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including USA Today, Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

Read more…


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