Mount Rainier National Park – A Family Hike at Sunrise

mount rainier sunrise

Having lived in Kansas City for five years before our extended road trip we didn’t realize how soul starved we were for nature.  God used his brush and painted wondrous landscapes all over the globe for mankind to interact with and enjoy.

In this technological age its easy to forget to make time for ourselves and get away to be refreshed by God’s handiwork.  We had never been so in touch with that need as we were when we set off on our open-ended adventure.

When we lived in the Pacific Northwest before we didn’t appreciate the beauty like we did once we moved away.  It’s true that distance makes the heart grow fonder.  We feel like the lucky ones.  We are in awe of things we wouldn’t even have noticed before – like the way the White River bends and carves out its path along 410 on the way to Mount Rainier National Park.

mount rainier sunrise hikeHow the evergreens tower over the road and frame in glimpses of the layered foothills or the rock faces that stand proudly beside the road.  Seeing others enjoy the beauty of creation makes my heart happy – which is part of the reason I devote so much time to this blog!

As you make your way up the mountain the view just gets better and better.  The dark earth that pushes up in jagged formation at the base of Mt. Rainer will take your breath away.  I’m not being dramatic.  It really will! 

When we went the winter snow had since melted in most of the lower elevations but some of it remained.  All the different textures complemented each other so well making the drive and the hike so enjoyable.  We started our hike at the highest point you can drive on the mountain.  Higher even than Paradise

mount rainier sunrise hike

sunrise lodge mt rainierYou can either start your hike from Sunrise Point or the Sunrise Day Lodge.  We opted for the latter.  We began our afternoon just up from the lodge at a semi private picnic area to enjoy our picnic lunch.  It is just lovely to pause as a family and enjoy lunch with a majestic view.  

It definitely feels like a tourist spot with so many nations represented by the visitors.  We met several different groups of people on the trail that either didn’t speak english or had distinct accents.  It’s fun being around people from places all around the world!

Our kids were able to make the hike.  I did pack/carry Girlr , who was 2 at the time, for about half of the time in my soft pack carrier.  She fussed a lot, which was not completely uncommon, but happily ran down most of the trail on the way back to the van.

hiking mt rainier with baby

hiking sunrise with kids

kids hiking mt rainier We are constantly working on teaching the boys to complain less and complement more.  This is definitely a work in progress.  They started complaining about 10 minutes in.  We stayed 3.5 hours!  It wasn’t a strenuous hike and we had lots of water and snacks.  We moved slowly and stopped frequently.  The boys removed their shoes for part of the trail and commented on enjoying the way Rainier dirt felt under their feet.

boy playing in the dirtBiggie would stop every so often to scratch something in the dirt.  When we asked him what he was doing he announced that he was leaving “targets” along the trail so that we would be able to find our way back.  He didn’t want us to get lost.  LOVE that kid!!!

All in all it was a great family adventure in which we highly recommend.

If you are visiting with kids, don’t forget about the Jr. Ranger Program that most National Parks offer.  If you are familiar with this blog you know that I am basically obsessed with the Jr. Ranger Program!  If you are unfamiliar with what the JRP is make sure to read the post where I explain what it is and how to get the most out of it!

mount rainier day hikeTips when Visiting Mount Rainier National Park – Sunrise with Kids:

  • June through early fall is an ideal time to visit
  • Be prepared to dress warm by bringing a jacket or sweatshirt or layer your clothing so you are comfortable no matter what the weather.
  • Check for road closures/conditions at Mount Rainier National Park Road Status Web Page
  • Leave early in the morning so you have lots of time to explore.
  • Pack a lunch so you can enjoy a picnic.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.  At this elevation you will need it! You and your kiddos can easily get nauseated and feel sick if you don’t drink enough water at the higher elevations.
  • Binoculars are fun to have.

mount rainier with kids

hiking with children

mount rainier with kidsWhat we liked about our visit to Sunrise at Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Beautiful drive
  • Great hiking trails and easy hikes for the kids.
  • Fun to meet people from all over the world who visit the mountian.
  • Relaxing and Rejuvenating
  • Picnic with a view!
  • The standard park pass lasts 7 days from when you purchase it.

What we didn’t like about our visit to Sunrise at Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Sometimes bears are milling around
  • The weather can be unpredictable
  • Occasional road work

I have a related post/review from our visit to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park, so make sure to check that out if you are planning on a day trip to the mountain.  Hope you feel inspired to take your family to the Mount Rainier sometime soon!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

About Emily Oak

I am a Mother, a Lover, a Traveler, Entrepreneur and Blogger. I crave adventure, appreciate good leather, find old weathered wood beautiful, prefer french pressed coffee, and feel alive running in the rain (albeit at a snails pace)! I believe in living passionately, loving extravagantly, taking risks, forgiving often, and living for the audience of One. I am an introvert but you wouldn’t know that if you met me. I LOVE people.