Although the Paradise Visitor's Center at Mt. Rainier National Park is more well-known and generally open year round, the Sunrise Visitor's Center is a unique and very impressive setting. It's the highest place in the park accessible by car at 6400 ft. elevation. From here you are so close to the mountain you can almost touch it. There is only a huge valley between you and the base of Mt. Rainier.
The Visitor Center contains a collection of information about the history of the Park and the flora and fauna you will encounter in the sup-alpine meadows. The many trails that originate here provide exceptional up-close-and-personal views of this sleeping volcano.
Located at the end of Sunrise Road, the Sunrise Visitor Center is open daily beginning early July to early October and is closed in winter. In the summer, special programs are offered including guided walks and talks on a variety of topics. The Sunrise Visitor Center informs visitors about the natural history of Mount Rainier including the volcano's recent eruptive history through exhibits, photographs, maps, and colorful computer-generated illustrations. Mounted telescopes are available to gain a close-up look of the mountain glaciers. At Sunrise you will also find a picnic area, restrooms, grill and gift shop.
Sunrise Visitor Center is the main access to the eastside of Mt. Rainier National Park. Several hiking trails depart from here, many of them leading to scenic overlooks on easy paths suitable for non-hikers.
Sourdough Ridge Trail begins at the north side of the parking area near the Visitor Center. The trail makes a spectacular 1- mile loop through Sunrise Meadows. On a clear day, it is an easy hike to the top of the ridge to witness the breathtaking views.
For more information, go to Visit Rainier.
Gorges and Geological Features
Nature and Interpretive Centers