(Tolmie Peak in Mount Rainier National Park)
Mount Rainier National has many iconic spots within the park limits. Tolmie Peak is the most popular and heavily trafficked hike in the park. Definitely one of the most picturesque spots you will find in all of the Pacific Northwest. Make sure you are ready for some steep terrain though as the last half mile has some serious incline. Some people after hiking to the top would take a dip in the lake on the way back towards the trail head. This hike is prime for group outings and it’s highly recommended that you get to the trail head early as parking is hard to find, especially on beautiful Northwest summer days.
(Spray Falls in Mount Rainier National Park)
If you are one to chase waterfalls, Spray Falls is the location for you. You will more than likely have to engineer your own foot bridge to get across the creek running down the rocky hillside, or just jump from rock to rock with a large stick as a pole for added support. This location was beautiful seeing this water trickling its way over the ledge from up above. Definitely watch out for your friends if you are hiking here as there are tricky areas and it seemed like a prime spot for Cougars to be resting/stalking with thick cover and rocks all around.
(Spray Park in Mount Rainier National Park)
My favorite hike of them all was Spray Park. This hike leads you up into heaven, opening up into lush prairies with Mount Rainier within reach. Make sure you hike with a rather large group on this one as bears will be in close proximity at the end of the hike. It’s definitely something you have to experience though, seeing black bears in their natural habitat playing in trees and eating berries. Another thing, make sure you stay with your group because I chose to stay in the prairie while my brother and friend hiked further up a ridge line and while they were away bears started coming out of the treeline which was stressful and awesome as this was my first bear encounter. Don’t freak out though if you see them! Your chances of being attacked are slim to none, especially with black bears.