So you’re planning to see Mount Rainier National Park?  With the towering mountain that gives the park its name – the highest peak in the Cascade Range- and the meadows of summer wildflowers, it’s a great scenic park you to visit with plenty of great hikes

One of three national parks in Washington, Mt Rainier National Park can be accessed from several nearby airports.   

This guide will help you decide which airport to choose, so your planning is easier.  Let’s take a look.  

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Planning Your Trip to Mount Rainier 

To help with your planning, here are the basic steps to follow: 

  1. First up, you’ll need to decide when to go
  2. You’ll also need to decide how long to go for
  3. Then, you’ll need to decide where to stay.  There are lodges and campgrounds inside the national park, as well as a variety of other accommodation options in gateway towns like Packwood and Ashford. 
  4. Now that you have decided where to stay, the next thing is to decide the best way to get to Mount Rainier.  
    There are no shuttle buses available at this park, so you’ll need to drive. Airports near Mount Rainier National Park have plenty of car rental services available to get you there.  Book a car through Discover Cars – you enter your destination and they scan all of the available cars in all the agencies to find the best price for the type of car you want.
    You can also read my Guide to Finding the Cheapest Rental Car for handy tips.
    Check my Road Trip Packing List to make sure you have everything you need for a road trip.
  5. If you’re going to fly, read on to find an airport close to Mount Rainier National Park.  That’s what this guide is to help you do! 
  6. Then you’ll need to book a flight.  I recommend using Skyscanner to search through all available flights to find the cheapest. 
  7. Finally, you will need to decide your itinerary.  
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Closest Airport to Mount Rainier National Park

How to Decide Where To Fly For Mount Rainier National Park

There are several options to get you to Mount Rainier National Park. Deciding where to fly there depends on the details of your trip. 

  • What part(s) of the park will you be visiting? There are three areas to get you to Mt. Rainier.
    The Nisqually Entrance to Paradise in the southwest is the only entrance that’s accessible all year round.
    Carbon River and Mowich Lake regions in the northwest are closer to Seattle but less-visited.
    You have several options for entrances on the east side – the Ohanapecosh Entrance in the south, Chinook Pass, Stephens Canyon, and from White River on State Route 410. Many of the east entrances are closed during the winter so it’s important to know which airport near Mt. Rainier you can fly to during this season. 
  • Where else are you planning to go on your trip?  Are you planning to see other parks in Washington? North Cascades National Park is just six hours from Mt. Rainier National Park, so you can also drop by while you’re in the area. Olympic National Park is even closer. 
  • When are you going?  The park is at its busiest during the summer months, and this is when all roads are open and all flights available. If you’re visiting in the winter, however, you’ll need to plan your airport around road openings and flight availability.  
  • Where are you staying? Which area of the park will you be staying? It might make most sense to fly into an airport nearest your accommodations.  
  • How much time do you have? Are you staying for several days? Are you planning to see other national parks in Washington? If you have limited time to travel, you can choose the closest airport you fly to and from the park. If you have more time, you a more distant airport might make more sense if it’s more convenient to another destination on your trip.
  • What’s your budget? Rates for flights and car rental services vary in different airports, so it’s better to check on prices when you book.  
  • Do you have a frequent flyer program with a specific airline? Smaller airports have fewer flights available. Choosing international airports can give you points for miles.  
  • Where are you flying from?  Are you taking international flights? Which US city will you be flying from? Not all airlines fly into every airport.  
  • What type of car do you want to rent when you arrive? There are plenty of car rental options you can get from different airports. 

What Are The Best Airports Near Mount Rainer National Park 

The airports near Mount Rainier are: 

  1. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)  
  2. Yakima Air Terminal (YKM)   
  3. Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base (Seattle Lake Union Seaplane Base) (LKE)  
  4. Portland International Airport (PDX)   
  5. Spokane International Airport (GEG)  
  6. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)  

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) 

Bent highways in the middle of colorful Buildings surrounded by trees in Tacoma, Washington

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) located in Seattle, Washington is the busiest airport in the Pacific Northwest. It’s situated between Portland and Vancouver.  

Serving 31 airlines with over 90 domestic and 28 international flights to major cities, Sea-Tac Airport has plenty of options.  You can also choose from several car rental agencies at this airport. It’s the nearest airport to Mount Rainier National Park, giving you easy access to all of Mt. Rainier’s entrances in less than 200 miles.  

From Mount Rainier National Park to Seattle is just 85 miles from the town of Ashford, near the park’s Nisqually entrance. You can take I-5 South from Seattle to Exit 127 or SR 512. From there, drive south on SR 7 to Elbe. Once you get to Elbe, the entrance is less than 15 miles east on SR 706.

To get to the northwest entrances, you can take SR 165 from Wilkeson.

The east entrances, which are most accessible during the warmer months, are a bit over a two-hour drive via Chinook Pass. 

Location:

The airport is located south of downtown Seattle and northeast of downtown Tacoma. 

Distance from Seattle to Mt Rainier National Park  

  • Distance from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park, USA (White River Ranger Station): 71 miles 
  • Distance from Seattle, WA to Mt Rainier National Park (Paradise): 94 miles  

Travel time from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park: 

  • Time Seattle – Mount Rainier National Park (White River Ranger Station): 1 hour 30 minutes 
  • Time Seattle to Mount Rainier, Washington (Paradise): 2 hours 15 minutes 

What airlines have flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Which airports connect to there? 

Multiple domestic and international flights are available to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

Rental car options: 

  • Offsite (Car Rental Facility): Alamo, AVIS, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox Rent a Car, Hertz, National, Payless, Rent-A-Wreck, Sixt, Thrifty 

Getting from Seattle to Rainier National Park: 

  • Car rentals and bus and shuttle tours are available at the airport.  

Pros: 

  • Nearest Seattle Airport to Mount Rainier 
  • Plenty of domestic and international flights are available  
  • Options for cheaper and budget flights 
  • Visit and see the city of Seattle  

Cons: 

  • Can have long wait times at bust peak periods 

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • If you want to get to the park quicker 
  • If you have limited travel time  
  • If you’re also visiting Seattle  

Yakima Air Terminal (YKM)

Buildings surrounded by parked cars and trees, and mountains as background in Yakima, Washington

Yakima Air Terminal (YKM) is another airport near Mount Rainier National Park. Commercial flights are available on Alaska Airlines to/ from Seattle-Tacoma.  Charter services are also provided by Swift Air and Sun Country Airlines. 

Budget, AVIS, and Hertz car services are available at Yakima Airport. It’s most convenient to the eastern side of the park.  The east White River Ranger Station is about an hour and a half drive.  It’s further to the southwest Nisqually entrance – it’s about 117 miles from Yakima to Paradise.  

To get you around Yakima, you can get taxi services by A1 Cab and BluHawk Taxi, though you need to hire a car to get to the national park. 

Location:

Yakima Air Terminal lies three miles south of Yakima, which is southeast of Mount Rainier National Park 

Distance Yakima to Mt Rainier National Park:  

  • Distance to White River Ranger Station: 75 miles 
  • Distance to Paradise: 117 miles 

Travel time to Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Time to White River Ranger Station: 1 hour 30 minutes 
  • Time to Paradise: 2 hours 45 minutes 

What airlines fly out of Yakima Air Terminal? Which airports connect to there? 

  • Alaska: Seattle-Tacoma 
  • Sun Country Airlines: charter service  
  • Swiftair: charter service  

Rental car options: 

  • Onsite: Budget, Hertz, AVIS 
  • Offsite: Enterprise  

Getting from Yakima Air Terminal to Mount Rainier National Park: 

  • Car rental is the best (only) option to get you to the park 

Pros: 

  • Short drive to Mt. Rainier’s east and southwest entrances  
  • Good option if you prefer to fly on charter service 
  • Visit other attractions in Yakima like the Yakima Valley or Yakima Ridge-Cleman Mountain 

Cons: 

  • Limited airline options  
  • Limited car rental services  
  • International flights are not available here 
  • There’s no option for budget flights  

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • If you have limited time to travel  
  • If you plan to see other sites in Yakima  
  • Are visiting the eastern side of the park 

Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base (Seattle Lake Union Seaplane Base) (LKE)

An airplane over the lake with lots of boats and besides are buildings surrounded by trees in Lake Union Seattle Washington near Seattle-Tacoma Internatiomal Airport

Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base  It’s located in Seattle near South Lake Union near the Space Needle. They have daily flights to/ from the San Juan Islands, but for Mount Rainier, the main reason to use this airport is to take a scenic flight over the national park.  Charter flights are also available.   

Kenmore Air has ground shuttle services from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Seattle/Boeing Field terminal.  

Location:

Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base sits on Lake Union, one nautical mile north of Downtown Seattle. 

Distance to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Distance to White River Ranger Station: 82 miles 
  • Distance to Paradise: 105 miles 

Travel time to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Time to White River Ranger Station: 1 hour 50 minutes 
  • Time to Paradise: 2 hours 35 minutes 

What airlines fly out of Kenmore Air Harbor Seaplane Base? Which airports connect to there? 

Flights and Charters:  

  • Seattle: Kenmore/Lake Washington, Seattle/Lake Union, Seattle/Boeing Field, Everett/Paine Field  
  • San Juan Island: Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor 
  • Orcas Island: Deer Harbor, Eastsound, West Sound, Rosario Resort 
  • Lopez Island: Fisherman Bay  
  • Victoria B.C: Victoria B.C, Victoria Seaplane Terminal 
  • B.C Inside Passage: Nanaimo, Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound  
  • Vancouver, B.C: Vancouver, B.C. 

Scenic Flight and Tours: Seattle Scenic, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, San Juan Islands Scenic, Lake Washington Scenic  

Terminals connected to Kenmore Air:   

  • Lake Washington Terminal – Kenmore, WA 
  • Lake Union Terminal – Seattle, WA 
  • Boeing Field – Seattle, WA 
  • Friday Harbor Airport – Friday Harbor, WA  
  • Eastsound/Orcas Island Airport – Eastsound, WA 
  • Victoria Inner Harbour / Seaplane Terminal – Victoria, BC 
  • Everett/Paine Field – Everett, WA 

Rental car options: 

There are no car rental services available here 

Pros: 

  • A different experience to see Mt. Rainier  
  • Plenty of private charter services  
  • Accessibility within the city of Seattle if you want to tour the city  

Cons: 

  • Only charter services are available  
  • Flight connections to airports are not available  

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • For scenic flights over Mount Rainier 

Portland International Airport (PDX) 

Airplane landing at Portland International Airport in the middle of the day with mountains and trees as background

Portland International Airport is located in Portland, Oregon. Flying here gives you lots of options for both domestic and international travel. Though the airport is not the closest airport to Mount Rainier, there are plenty of connecting flights to major cities within and outside the US and can be a good start and/ or end point for a northwest road trip that includes Mount Rainier. 

You’ll also have the advantage to grab cheaper flights and you can also earn points for miles on your favorite airline.  

You can get to Mt. Rainier National Park by renting a car. There are several car rental services both inside the airport and offsite to choose from. It takes more or less three hours on either route to the White River entrance and the Nisqually entrance near Paradise.  

Location:

The airport is located northeast of Portland’s downtown area.  

Distance Portland to Mt Rainier National Park:  

  • Distance to White River Ranger Station: 169 miles 
  • Distance to Paradise: 155 miles 

Travel time to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Time to White River Ranger Station: 3 hours 
  • Time to Paradise: 2 hours 55 minutes 

What airlines fly out of Portland International Airport? Which airports connect to there? 

  • There are plenty of non-stop domestic and international flights connected here.  

Rental car options: 

  • Onsite: AVIS, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt, Zipcar 
  • Offsite: Alamo, Budget, Thrifty (Shuttle services are provided to their locations) 

Getting from Portland International Airport to Mount Rainier National Park: 

  • Car rental service  

Pros: 

  • Plenty of airlines and flights available 
  • Plenty of car rental options  
  • Cheaper flights are available here  
  • Accessibility to downtown Portland  

Cons: 

  • Longer travel to the park  

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • If you have a longer time to travel  
  • You’re traveling around the Pacifici Northwest and want to include Portland and parts of Oregon on your trip together with Mount Rainier 

Spokane International Airport (GEG) 

An airplane over the lake with lots of boats and besides are buildings surrounded by trees in Lake Union Seattle Washington

Spokane International Airport located in far eastern Washington, is a small hub that only caters to domestic flights, but it offers commercial flights on eight airlines connected to several US cities.  

From here, you can rent a car to get to Mt. Rainier.  It’s about four and a half hours to the eastern White River entrance and even to the Nisqually entrance near Paradise, so Spokane is really only suitable if you’re planning to visit western Washington or Idaho on your trip to Mount Rainier. 

Location:

This commercial airport is located seven miles southwest of the city of Spokane.   

Distance to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Distance to White River Ranger Station: 265 miles 
  • Distance to Paradise: 308 miles 

Travel time to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Time to White River Ranger Station: 4 hours 30 minutes 
  • Time to Paradise: 5 hours 45 minutes 

What airlines fly out of Spokane International Airport? Which airports connect to there? 

  • Alaska Airlines: Boise, Everett, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle 
  • American Airlines: Dallas-Ft. Worth, Phoenix 
  • Frontier Airlines: Las Vegas 
  • Sun Country Airlines: Minneapolis 
  • Allegiant Air: Las Vegas, Orange County, CA, Phoenix-Mesa 
  • Delta Airlines: Atlanta, Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle 
  • Southwest Airlines: Denver, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Jose 
  • United Airlines: Chicago O’Hare, Denver, San Francisco 

Rental car options: 

  • Onsite: Alamo, Enterprise, AVIS, Hertz, Budget, National, Dollar, Thrifty 

Getting from Spokane International Airport to Mount Rainier National Park: 

  • Car rental 

Pros: 

  • Connecting flights to several US cities  
  • Budget flight offers are available  
  • Several car rental services  

Cons: 

  • International flights are not available  
  • Limited airline options  
  • Long drive to the park  

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • If you’re visiting western Washington and/ or Idaho on the same trip as Mount Rainier National Park 

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) 

Vancouver International Airport in the middle of the day surrounded by blue water and grassland and on the opposite side is buildings in the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver International Airport is the main airport hub for Vancouver and British Columbia’s southern region. There are plenty of options for both domestic and international flights to major cities through multiple airline companies.  

This means that there are often competitive flight rates and frequent flyer programs, so you can choose the best prices and services. There are rental companies available both onsite and offsite to help you get to Mount Rainier National Park.  

The downside, if you want to get directly to the national park, is that it’s a long drive, so this is best if you are planning a road trip that includes parts of Bristish Columbia. 

Location:

Vancouver International Airport is located in southern British Columbia, Canada. 

Distance to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Distance to White River Ranger Station: 213 miles 
  • Distance to Paradise: 240 miles 

Travel time to Mount Rainier National Park:  

  • Time to White River Ranger Station: 4 hours 
  • Time to Paradise: 4 hours 45 minutes 

What airlines fly out of Vancouver International Airport? Which airports connect to there? 

  • Major domestic and international flights from several cities connect to this airport.  

Rental car options: 

  • Onsite: National, Alamo, Hertz, Dollar Thrifty, AVIS, Budget, Enterprise Rent-a-Car  
  • Offsite: Routes Car Rental, Evo Car Share, ALIGO Rent a Car, West Coast Car Rental 

Getting from Vancouver International Airport to Mount Rainier National Park: 

  • Car rental service  

Pros: 

  • Major airlines both domestic and international fly here  
  • Connecting flights to major US and international cities  
  • You can get budget flights  

Cons: 

  • Long travel to the park  
  • It involves an international border crossing 

This is the best airport for Mount Rainier National Park … 

  • If you’re visiting Vancouver and/ or other parts of British Columbia in Canada and/ or northern Washington State on a road trip that includes Mount Rainier National Park 
  • If you have longer time for travel  

FAQs About the Best Airports for Mount Rainier National Park 

Where do you fly into for Mount Rainier? 

Seattle-Tacoma is the most convenient and nearest accessible airport you can fly into for Mount Rainier.

How do you fly to Mount Rainier National Park? 

You can have connecting flights to Seattle, Yakima or Portland to get to the national park.

Where do you fly to go to Mount Rainier? 

Airports where you can fly to get to Mount Rainier on a convenient drive include Seattle-Tacoma, which is the closest by distance. You also have the option to fly to Yakima Air Terminal or Portland International.


Map of Airports Near Mount Rainier National Park


Travel Insurance for Mount Rainier National Park

A final thought.  When you’re flying to Washington State (Mount Rainier National Park) consider getting travel insurance too. Make sure it includes trip cancellation, in case you need to cancel your flight before your travel, so that you can get a refund.    

A great insurance option is Travelex.  It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can swap this link for  either choose the best travel insurance plan for your trip here or get a quote right now:

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Have a great trip to Mount Rainier!  I hope this guide has helped you decide what airport to fly into for your trip to Mt Rainier National Park, WA.

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Closest Airport to Mount Rainier National Park

Which of the airports near Mount Rainier National Park, Washington did you choose?  I’d love to know.  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).  

Now you know all the airports you can choose when visiting Mount Rainier, Pin It to your Mount Rainier National Park board for easy reference! 

3 photos: above is Mount Rainier, the bottom left is a photo of an airplane, and the bottom right is a girl at the airport with the text that says "What's the best airport to fly into mount rainier."
Photos of flowers below mount rainier with the texts that says, "Complete guide to all the airports near Mount Rainier National Park".
WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR PLANNING PROCESS?

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About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.

He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.

Read more…


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