There's a Lot to Do En Route to Mount Rainier

Enjoy a few side excursions on the way to this national park.
Clear Views: A meadow at Sunrise point.

The route: The park has four entrances, but the White River entrance, off State Route 410 and via Puyallup and Enumclaw, offers several worthwhile stopping points. 

Fall Flavor: The Puyallup Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; 330 S Meridian; is where handmade wares, plant starts, seasonal produce and international food carts abound. Choose some bounty for a picnic, and then round it out when you reach Enumclaw with a few slices from The Pie Goddess (Enumclaw, 1100 Griffin Ave.; 360.625.8568). Kids will enjoy a detour to Thomasson Family Farm (Enumclaw, 38223 236th Ave. SE; 360.802.0503; $3–$12), which offers a variety of seasonal farm activities, from corn mazes to cow milking. 

Photograph by Thomasson Family Farm. Family fun can be had at Thomasson Family Farm.

Peak Interest: As you continue your journey on SR 410, turn onto Crystal Mountain Boulevard to reach the Crystal Mountain Resort (open daily through September 17) and its spectacular gondola ride ($12–$33), a 2,000-foot ascension above the evergreens to Summit House, (360.663.3085), Washington’s highest-elevation restaurant. From here, Mount Rainier looks close enough to touch. 

High Point: Wind your way back to SR 410, through the nearby White River park entrance and continue to Sunrise. It’s the highest vehicle-accessible point in the park, and features a visitor center (open until mid-September) and day lodge (open until late September). 

A variety of trailheads offer hiking options and be sure to enjoy a picnic and some photo ops before trekking home.

Photo by: Jason Anglin. A meal with a view at the Summit House.

Chill & Chug 

Take the Train
See Mount Rainier from a different perspective via a steam train that leaves from the Mt. Rainier Railroad & Logging Museum (Elbe, 54124 Mountain Hwy. E; 888.783.2611; $21–$54) on weekends and travels across the Upper Nisqually River to the small community of Mineral and back. For an adults-only excursion, hit up Rails to Ales (21 and older; 9/30–10/1; $54–$69), a craft-brew tasting with live music, catering, refreshments and some of Washington’s best beer. 

Related Content


Drive off the mainland and ease into island time

Plus: The Tri-Cities wineries just west of there

This agricultural wonderland just north of Seattle is dotted with delightful small towns to add to your trip list

Explore beyond the rolling hills, from Moscow, Idaho, to the Lewis-Clark Valley