Our family recently visited Mount Rainier National Park and it is gorgeous, though I still think Glacier NP is my favorite. We did some longer hikes, but there are many shorter, kid-friendly hikes as well for those who are not up for a longer hike. Here’s a list of the shorter hikes we did, some are not really a “hike.”
Mount Rainier National Park Short Family Hikes
Grove of the Patriarchs
This is an easy 1.5 mile loop trail just west of the Stevens Canyon Entrance. The highlights are the suspension bridge across the Ohanapecosh River and the huge, old trees highlighted on the boardwalk trail after you cross the bridge.
There are bathrooms near the parking lot at the trailhead. The lot seems to fill up as the day goes on, we got there quite early and pretty much had the whole trail to ourselves. “Hank” spotted a 3 inch slug along the trail which was a fun find, so keep your eyes peeled for fun creatures along the trail.
This is an easy hike from the Paradise Visitor’s Center, about a mile total. We did this hike on July 5th, 2017 and about half the trail was still snow covered so it was more difficult than it would have been if the snow was all melted. I also think the hike would be prettier if the snow was gone, but it was still a nice hike.
I would definitely recommend shoes with good grip and hiking poles if there is still snow on the trail. The steps down to the viewing area were clear and the rangers were working on putting up the guard rails on the bridge that crosses above the falls while we were there. There were a lot of marmots around the falls area that were fun to watch.
This is a .2 mile hike down and back up. While it is really short, the trail is somewhat steep so it does require some exertion. There is a parking lot at the top of the falls and you cross a bridge over the falls and then down to a viewing area by the falls. It’s worth a stop if you have time.
Hot Springs Nature Trail
This is an easy .4 mile hike right by the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. Unless we missed something, there were really no pretty hot spring pools to see and we didn’t feel it was a worthwhile stop. The trail was pretty and had signs identifying different flora in the area, but we were expecting more so it was a bit disappointing. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center was kind of fun, they had taxidermy animals of the area to view, which was neat and educational.
The park is beautiful to just drive through and stop at the Visitor Centers. Even if you choose not to get out and hike it is a worthwhile destination but you will certainly appreciate the beauty of the park more if you get out and explore a bit. For some longer family day hikes in Mount Rainier, visit our post on Mount Rainier National Park – Family Day Hikes.