Where should you stay at Mount Rainier National Park? Well, the park is home to two amazing, yet rustic, historical hotels. Both Paradise Inn and Longmire National Park Inn are enveloped within unpretentious, magnificent landscapes. Paradise is situated high upon Mount Rainier, among alpine meadows, as beautiful as anything in Switzerland. The Inn at Longmire lies nestled thousands of feet below, within a deep-green old growth forest. Both locations are as spiritual and beautiful as any place on earth, but each hotel has its own innate qualities.
I love both lodges, but which hotel is best for you? I like Paradise a tiny bit more than Longmire, but each inn has its own rustic, pioneer soul.
Paradise Inn – A Huge Alpine Lodge
The Paradise area has lots of trails through its high-alpine meadows, and around August, these meadows bloom with spectacular wildflowers. While walking there, you should watch for whistling marmots that pop out of holes like prairie dogs. Some trails above Paradise can get a bit steep for city folk who are unaccustomed to exercising in thinner air; however, those who are shaped like typical Americans will discover the area’s beauty just by walking a short distance. On some paths, you can rest on small wooden bridges by clear mountain streams to refuel with rations of trail mix and water.
Basic Information about Paradise Lodge
- Higher altitudes may not be as good for people with breathing difficulties.
- Open from late May or early June through early October.
- The Paradise area has spectacular Views.
- Hiking trails for all levels of ability criss-cross the area.
- Paradise has 100 guestrooms: rooms with no bath ($109), with bath ($159).
- There is a dining room and a snack bar.
- Busloads of tourists invade the place during peak season; avoid them by taking hikes.
- Renovations have made the lodge handicap accessible.
- Most mountain climbers begin their journey from Paradise.
National Park Inn at Longmire
Sunrise Lodge used to be a great, but windy, place to stay; however, this site no longer offers overnight accommodations. Still, Sunrise is a beautiful area and is the highest point (6400 ft) that you can reach by car. Sunrise Lodge is usually open from July to late September. It has food service, trails, and a visitor center.
Rental Cabins at Mount Rainier
If you want more privacy and fewer tourists, or if you have a large group of people, you might want to rent a cabin at Mt. Rainier. Although there are no cabins within the park proper, there are many locally-owned cabins right outside the park entrances. And, the areas outside the park are woodsy and beautiful.
Where is the Best Place to Stay?
I can’t tell you which place is best for your family. I’ve stayed at Paradise Lodge, the Inn at Longmire, a friend’s ski cabin near the park, and the various campgrounds at Mount Rainier. As for Paradise Lodge and the Inn at Longmire, each lodge is one of a kind. Both are amazing. And, wherever you stay, you will discover lots of trails, waterfalls, and picnic areas throughout this exquisite, near pristine mountain park.