Mount Rainier History

As the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier is a massive 14,400 foot stratovolcano located an hour southeast of Seattle in Washington State.

Established as the nation's first national park in 1899, the park includes valleys, waterfalls, subalpine meadows, old-growth forest and more than 25 glaciers. Prior to white settlers arriving in the area, the Puyallup national american tribe named the mountain Talol or Tahoma.

The earliest evidence of human activity in the area dates to 5,000 BP. The most substantial archeological find was a rock shelter near Fryingpan Creek, east of Goat Island Mountain. Hunting artifacts were found in the shelter.

The shelter would not have been used all year round. Cultural affinities suggest the site was used by Columbia Plateau Tribes from 1000 to 300 BP.

John Muir had visited Mount Rainier in 1888 along with nine others and climbed to the summit in what became the fifth recorded ascent. This trip played a role in reinvigorating Muir and convincing him to rededicate his life to the preservation of nature as national parks.

Mount Rainier is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by several glaciers and snowfields totaling some 35 square miles, with Carbon Glacier the largest by volume in the contiguous United States.

About 1.8 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year, and the peaks is a popular venue for mountaineering with some 10,000 attempts per year.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort

Sitting on peaks just to the northeast of Mount Rainier, the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort is the Northwest's most popular winter skiing destination, but also has a large summer clientele who hike, bike and ride the state's only Gondola to a peak with stupendous views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and even Mount Baker to the North.

Crystal Mountain Ski Area - the Northwest jewel - first opened in 1962 and is located on the Northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National park.

The sprawling expanse of the ski terrain flows over half a dozen peaks and basins and lends itself to seemingly limitless variations. Experience breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade range from the top of the new gondola and Summit House restaurant; a place you can enjoy fresh Northwest cuisine and relax and reflect in the majesty of the towering peaks and sweeping views.

You'll find 2,600 acres of everything from gentle groomed runs for beginners to challenging steeps, glades, chutes, bowls and expansive backcountry for the more adventurous. Crystal Mountain averages 486 inches of snowfall annually which gives powder enthusiasts plenty to smile about.

Top of the line high-speed lifts, terrain expansion, new dining facilities, day lodge renovations and the recent addition of the Mt. Rainier Gondola, make Crystal Mountain the premier ski and snowboard area in Washington. A total of 10 chairlifts and a gondola ensure you'll spend less time resting and more time enjoying the slopes.

From ethnic dishes at the mid-mountain Campbell Basin Lodge to gourmet Northwest cuisine at the Summit House Restaurant to delicious pub fare at the Bullwheel, you won't go hungry. Don't want to sit down? Grab a burger or slice of pizza at the Cascade Grill, or a light snack from Glacier Express Window and new Chinook Cafe which also offers espresso.

All this can be found in less than 2 hours from Seattle and Bellevue and 1 1/2 hours from Tacoma.