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Mount Rainier National Park

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Mount Rainier National Park showcases the highest peak in Washington and fifth highest in the lower 48 states. The snow covered peak of Mount Rainier, rising 14,410 feet above sea level, can be seen from more than 100 miles away. Hikers enjoy a large expanse of forests and trails. Those fortunate enough to reach the summit look down at 26 glaciers on the most glaciated mountain in America.

Mount Rainer National Park is the fifth oldest in the American national park system, established on 2 March 1899.

Hours of Operation

Petrified Forest National Park is open year round, all day, every day, although winter services are limited and can be closed due to weather and other seasonal interruptions. The park is located in the Pacific Time Zone.

Entrance Fees

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In addition to entrance fees, there is a fee for camping in one of Mount Rainier’s three car campgrounds. First-come, first-served wilderness permits are required for camping or climbing overnight in the backcountry of the park, but are free. Climbers must also get a climbing pass. A variety of activities, from getting married in the park to spreading ashes, is allowed with a special use permit.

Entrance Fees:

Mount Rainier Single Vehicle Fee – $30.00

Grants unlimited entry for one vehicle and passengers for seven consecutive days. Vehicle must be private, noncommercial, and with a seating capacity of 15 or less.

Mount Rainier “Per Person” Fee – $15.00

Walk-up or single bicycle fee. Grants unlimited entry for seven consecutive days.

Mount Rainier Motorcycle Fee – $25.00

Grants unlimited entry for one motorcycle and passenger for seven consecutive days.

Mount Rainier Campground Fee – $20.00

Fee per site, nightly, for camping in Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, and White River campgrounds. Learn more about camping at Mount Rainier at https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Mount Rainier Campground Fee – Groups – $60.00

Fee for group sites, nightly, in Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds. Group sites accommodate 25 to 40 people depending on site. There are no group sites in White River Campground. For more information about camping at Mount Rainier: https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Entrance Passes:

Mount Rainier Annual Pass – $55.00

Grants unlimited entry for one year to pass owner and passengers in the same car.

Lodging and Camping in the Park

There is no overnight lodging available in the park. Nearby communities offering lodging include Holbrook, Winslow, Gallup, and St. Johns.

Camping is limited to backpacking in the park Wilderness Area. There are no designated campsites. Free camping permits are available at the Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum. Please obtain a pass before beginning your journey.

Contacting Mount Rainier National Park

Mailing Address:
Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Park Headquarters: +1 (360) 569-2211

Email: Through the Website.

Website: Mount Rainier National Park

Park Highlights Driving Tour

Petrified Forest National Park offers a well organized driving tour taking visitors to all of the most important features of the park. The whole drive can be completed in about 3-4 hours including short stops at each location, but to get the most enjoyment out of the tour you might want to allow a whole day and include some of the short hikes and supplemental road loops along the way.

At the north end of the park, the driving tour starts at the Painted Desert Visitor Center. This itinerary may be driven in reverse starting from the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center at the south entrance to the park.

  • Painted Desert Visitor Center
  • Painted Desert Inn
  • Painted Desert Overlooks
  • Route 66 Alignment
  • Puerco Pueblo
  • Newspaper Rock
  • Blue Mesa
  • Agate Bridge
  • Jasper Forest
  • Crystal Forest
  • Rainbow Forest Museum and Giant Logs Trail
  • Long Logs and Agate House

Developed Trails in Petrified Forest National Park

Painted Desert Rim Trail: 1 mi (1.6 km) round trip A walk between Tawa Point and the Painted Desert Inn, offering scenic views of the Painted Desert below.

Puerco Pueblo Trail: 0.3 mi (0.5 km) loop A short walk among Native American village remains dating from 1250-1380 CE. Interpretive signs.

Blue Mesa Trail: 1 mi (1.6 km) loop Explore the vibrant blue, purple and gray of these badlands dotted with colorful petrified wood.

Crystal Forest Trail: 0.75 mi (1.2 km) loop Wander around a large field of colorful petrified logs.

Giant Logs Trail: 0.4 mi (0.6 km) loop Impressive collection of large logs. Showcase specimen Old Faithful measures nearly 10 ft across at the base. Trail guide available.

Long Logs Trail: 1.6 mi (2.5 km) loop Site of a Triassic Era log jam with many long petrified tree trunks.

Agate House Trail: 2 mi (3.3 km) round trip Visit an eight room reconstructed pueblo constructed almost entirely out of petrified wood.

The Long Logs and Agate House trails start from the same trailhead and may be combined for a longer 2.6 mi (4.2 km) hike.

Backcountry Hiking in Petrified Forest National Park

Hoping to avoid the crowds? There are over 50,000 acres of wilderness waiting to be explored in the Petrified Forest National Park. Go off the beaten track onto an old road or unmaintained trail, or use map and compass to blaze a new path. More information available at the Painted Desert Visitor Center, Rainbow Forest Museum, or online at the National Park Service website.

Top 5 Off the Beaten Path Hikes

Old Blue Forest 2.4 mi (3.9 km) round trip Hike along an unmaintained CCC trail. Enjoy huge petrified logs, desert landscape. [NPS route guide]

Jasper Forest 2.5 mi (4 km) round trip Hike along an old 1930s road through a garden of petrified wood. [NPS route guide]

Onyx Bridge 4 mi (6.4 km) round trip Leaves from Painted Desert Inn. See how a 210 million year old fallen tree forms a natural bridge. [NPS route guide]

Billings Gap 3 mi (4.8 km) round trip Hike to the Billings Gap overlook for views across the badlands and grassy valleys. [NPS route guide]

Martha’s Butte 2 mi (3.2 km) round trip Walk through wash country to the butte and a solar petroglyph. [NPS route guide]

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mount rainier national park

The best times to visit Petrified Forest National Park are in the late spring and early fall, while days are still long, temperatures a moderate 70-80 degrees F, and sunshine dependable.

Summer months are hot, with daily temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees F. Since there is very little shade in the park it would be uncomfortable for people who dislike hot weather or come unprepared for the sun.

Winters offer cool days, with average daytime temperatures in the 40s and 50s F and cold nighttime temperatures in the 20s F.

Petrified Forest National Park is located 50 miles from the Arizona/New Mexico border along the I-40 interstate highway. There is no public transportation to or inside the park.

Arrival by Car

Almost all visitors to Petrified Forest National Park arrive by car or other motor vehicle.

Visitors driving from the west will approach the park on I-40. The park is about 110 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona. Driving from the east, visitors will pas through Gallup, New Mexico about 70 miles east of the park.

From Phoenix, drivers follow AZ 87 North and AZ 260 East to AZ 277/377/77 North to Holbrook, then proceed East on I-40 to the north gate of the park, or East on US 180 East to the south gate.

Arrival by Air

Visitors to Petrified Forest National Park may choose to fly into a nearby airport and rent a car from there to drive to the park. The closest commercial flights are through Flagstaff, Arizona, 110 miles distant. For larger airports served by a wider variety of flights, try Phoenix, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico, each about 200 miles away.

There is a small airport serving private planes in Holbrook, Arizona.

GPS Coordinates

Painted Desert Visitor Center and Park Headquarters
Latitude: 35.06543746738773
Longitude: -109.78153824806213

Rainbow Forest Museum
Latitude: 34.81517743163217
Longitude: -109.86576497554779

Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark
Latitude: 35.08343319608185
Longitude: -109.78861391544342

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