Mount Rainier National Park Itineraries


Mount Rainier National Park is a truly amazing place – but planning a trip there can be overwhelming and time consuming. When I was planning my first Mount Rainier National Park itinerary, I was worried about:

#1 US national parks can get really crowded and I didn’t want to spend hours waiting in line to get into the national park

#2 I also didn’t want to spend my precious vacation driving around a parking lot trying to find a place to park

#3 I didn’t want to miss out on all the best bits of the park – but I didn’t know what they were!

#4 The park seemed difficult to navigate since there are several sections around the mountain and I didn’t know what to see and when

#5 I wanted to see the famous wildflower meadows and views of Mount Rainier, but didn’t know where to go

If this is you too, don’t worry.  Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome these concerns and have a dream vacation to Mount Rainier National Park. 

Your trip to Mount Rainier National Park can absolutely look like this:

path with tall conifer trees and mountain behind in Mount Rainier National Park

++ You know exactly when and where to go to beat the crowds. You don’t wait in line or spend time looking for a parking space.  You arrive when there are empty spaces and leave when things are crowded.

++ You are able to adapt your schedule for different interests and activity levels so your whole group can enjoy the park.

++ You know all the best places in the national park and you’re there at the best times for the best photos. You see incredible views of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains, meadows covered in wildflowers, lakes, waterfalls, awe-inspiring old growth forests, and more.

I have used all my years of experience planning and traveling to create your personal – and flexible Mount Rainier itinerary

You’ll know exactly how to spend each day – what to do, where to be, and when to go for the best views, for the best meadows, and to avoid the crowds as much as possible.

But you’ll also have the flexibility to choose options for your own comfort level and interests.


>> Essential tips for visiting the park >>Daily schedule
>> Detailed step-by-step breakdown of each activity and place
>> Alternatives for different levels of fitness and interest
>> Detailed driving directions with maps
>> Tips and important information
>> Detailed hike descriptions with maps
>> Recommendations on where – and when – to find the best points views and wildflowers
>> How to adjust your schedule depending on where you stay
>> Useful links for booking


grey inn with grass in foreground and mountains behind it

All the accommodations inside the park, plus a hand-curated list of additional options nearby

meatloaf and potatoes

All the dining choices inside the park, plus a carefully selected list of other convenient places

pink flowers with snowy mountain behind

An handy guide with photos of the most common wildflowers to help you identify the flowers that you see


James Ian in Mount Rainier National Park

Hi.  I’m James and I totally get how stressful planning a trip to the national parks can be.  You want to have the trip of a lifetime, but it’s hard to know exactly how to plan it all. 

I’ve traveled to all the major national parks (and 82 countries, all 7 continents, and most of the states in the US). 

Through all those travels, I’ve learned exactly how to best plan a vacation.  And in my travels to Mount Rainier National Park, I’ve discovered the park’s hidden secrets, the best places to see the wildflowers, where the best views are, when to take the best photos, and how to avoid the crowds. 

And I am sharing all this with you in these itineraries.

A private one-day tour of Mount Rainier National Park costs $949! Save money and use my itinerary to create your own personal trip with your family and/ or friends for less than $10/ day!

Take the overwhelm out of your planning, save time, and start your trip confident that you will see all the best that Mount Rainier National Park has to offer.



Cover Mount Rainier One day itinerary
36 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 1 day itinerary



Cover Mount Rainier two day itinerary
64 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 2 day itinerary



Cover Mount Rainier three day itinerary
76 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 3 day itinerary


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>> Buy the itinerary

>> Get instant access to a downloadable PDF + access to downloadable PDFs of the free bonus extras + access to frequent updates

>> Save the PDFs to your computer then upload them to your phone or print them out for your trip

>> Have an awesome trip to Mount Rainier National Park!

“Thank you! Your itinerary was so helpful that I knew exactly how to spend my time efficiently!!  We had a really great time!”

Wendy, Baltimore


annotated Mt Rainier 3-Day Itinerary overview
annotated Mt Rainier 3-Day Itinerary day at a glance
annotated Mt Rainier 3-Day Itinerary driving directions
annotated Mt Rainier 3-Day Itinerary hikes


What happens if my plans change and I can’t use the itinerary this year?

This itinerary is specifically designed so you can use it any year. You’ll get access to an exclusive section of my website with major updates that may affect the itinerary. So, you can use it this year, next year or in five years’ time, and still have access to any current updates that might affect your trip.

What happens if my plans change after I’ve bought the itinerary and I have more (or less) time to spend in the park?

The itineraries are designed for the length of time you plan to be in the park, but they can be adjusted.

If you think you might end up with less time, I recommend getting a longer itinerary and trimming down if needed. You can always email me at for suggestions on how to do that if you find yourself in this situation.

However, if you decide to stay longer and want to upgrade, just email me and for the difference in the regular price, I’ll send you the longer itinerary. So you don’t need to pay for two itineraries when you only need one!

What if I’ve already started to plan my trip? Is this helpful?

Yes. You can check your self-planned trip against this itinerary. You are bound to pick up some extra tips and get some extra ideas for when and where to go.

What if I want to go for longer than 3 days?

The three-day itinerary has you seeing all the major park highlights, but there are loads of extra activities, hiking trails, and more remote parts of the park to enjoy. If you have more time, I recommend doing the three-day itinerary then checking out my Parks Collecting guides for extra things to do.

I’m planning to go to Mount Rainier National Park in winter. Can I use this itinerary?

No. Many of the roads are closed in winter. The itinerary is best for travel from July to September when the roads are all open.

This is not my first trip to Mount Rainier National Park. Will this itinerary be helpful for me?

This itinerary is designed for first timers to the park. If you’ve been before, you’ll probably pick up some new tips, but overall, it may not be the best option for you.

I don’t like being stuck with a really rigid plan. Is this itinerary for me?

Yes! This itinerary has been specifically created to give you choices. There are options for those who like to be active and hit the trails, but also for those who want to experience the park in a more leisurely way.

I don’t like to hike. Does this itinerary have options for me?

Yes. There are options for people who like to hike and alternate options to experience the same general areas of the park for those who either can’t or prefer not to hike.

I like to hike and want to do some long hikes. Will this itinerary be useful for me?

Yes. There are several longer hikes included as an option for people who like to do longer hikes. If you want to do even more long hikes, then I recommend doing the 3-day itinerary but staying an extra day or more in the park and using those extra days for more and/ or longer hikes.

I am traveling for 2.5 days (or 1.5 days). Which itinerary should I get?

If you have a half day, the easiest way to adjust the itinerary is to go with the longer itinerary and then trim down. You can change the order of the days and choose which day you wish to cut some time off. This is easy to do. Alternatively, you could get the shorter itinerary and then go back to a favorite spot for half a day on your last day.

How long do I need to see Mount Rainier National Park?

You can see the most popular section of the park in one full day, but I recommend three days if you can so you can visit all the main areas. I like to take a one-week vacation and spend three days in Mount Rainier National Park and four days in nearby Olympic National Park (plus a travel day either end). It’s a perfect national parks vacation.

(If you have two weeks, add on North Cascades National Park and the San Juan Islands).

Why should I pay for this? There are lots of blogs with free itineraries.

While that’s true, free itinerary blog posts are invariably pretty general. This itinerary is completely different from a typical blog post. It has a detailed minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour breakdown of what to do, so that you can use it to guide your whole trip. It also includes detailed driving directions, hike descriptions, adjustments if you stay in different places, and all the bonus extras. It’s a one-stop planning shop.

What the difference between this and a guide book?

Guidebooks provide information about every place to stay and place to eat and lots of things to do. However, they don’t curate all that information into a workable itinerary. You need to do that yourself, and with so much information to try and digest, it can be hard to know exactly the best things to do / see and when.

At the same time, they also lack really helpful information such as detailed driving directions from each point in your itinerary to the next, and detailed hike descriptions.

My itineraries have done all the heavy lifting for you. I have sifted through all the information you’d find in guidebooks (from my personal experience) to create a step-by-step schedule – and added in all the practical information you need to know when you get there.

How does this itinerary work when I might stay somewhere different from other people buying it?

The itinerary assumes you will stay in either Packwood or Ashford (depending on the itinerary), which are the two most popular gateway towns to Mount Rainier National Park. However, it includes full details on how to adjust the timing based on where you stay. Whether you stay in the same place for your whole trip, another nearby town, or any of the lodges or campgrounds inside the national park, you will know exactly how to tweak the timing for where you are staying.



Cover Mount Rainier One day itinerary
36 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 1 day itinerary



Cover Mount Rainier two day itinerary
64 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 2 day itinerary



Cover Mount Rainier three day itinerary
76 pages
list of things included in Mt Rainier 3 day itinerary


Best Seller