Where to Stay In Mt. Rainier National Park (Paradise Inn)
Summary: If you’re wondering where to stay in Mt. Rainier National Park, this post is for you! I spent a few nights at Paradise Inn, a cabin-style lodge inside Mt. Rainier National Park and this is my full review of the experience.
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If you’ve ever flown into Seattle, or driven around the Seattle area, chances are you’ve caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier. It’s hard to miss! At just over 14,000ft above sea level and standing alone, Mt. Rainier is an iconic sight to see in Washington and the National Park that surrounds it is beautiful.
After living in Montana and Washington, Austin and I have been to quite a few national parks in these areas. It only took 24 hours for Mt. Rainier National Park to become my favorite. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend here as we just drove down for a weekend trip, but we did our first visit to this National Park right, and the main reason for that is we picked (what I believe to be) the best place to stay in Mount Rainier National Park.
The Best Place to Stay in Mt. Rainier National Park (Paradise Inn Review)
We stayed at Paradise Inn, a huge cabin-style lodge in the Paradise section of Mt. Rainier National Park. This is a popular destination for day-trippers as it’s right next to the visitors center and it’s a great spot to have a meal during your drive through the park.
The inn has two places to eat: the dining room and a cafe. The dining room is admittedly very pricey, but it was delicious food. We had the breakfast buffet twice and we ate one dinner here. The food was great! Once I started thinking about how they must have to transport all of that food into the park to make it, the price started to make sense.
Alternatively, the cafe is a great spot for a quick meal or a coffee. They had a ton of different teas, espresso drinks, and even boozy campfire drinks. For food, they offered pastries, snacks, and quick meals like sandwiches, wraps, etc. I came here every morning for an oat milk latte before watching the sunrise on the adjoining patio and it was just perfect!
The lodge is made of several connected buildings, so they have a lot of rooms. I booked pretty far in advance, but a friend of mine considered coming to stay with us because they had rooms available the very next night.
Overall, the rooms were pretty standard. They didn’t have air conditioning, but they did have an open window and a fan which worked just fine. I’d describe the room as satisfactory, but not somewhere I’d want to spend my whole day which was perfect because we wanted to spend as much time as possible outside on the trails!
My Favorite Part About Paradise Inn
I had never stayed inside a National Park before this trip. I had always booked too close to the trip date and the accommodations in the parks were always full, so we’d stay at towns close by and then drive into the park each day. However, it was really nice to be able to enjoy the Paradise Inn surroundings before all the day-trippers came and after everyone left. This area gets incredibly busy during the day, so to see it in a calmer atmosphere was amazing.
My favorite part about staying at Paradise Inn was when I would wake up at 6am, to go the cafe for my morning latte, and then sit on the patio and watch the sunrise. There is an incredible mountain view right on this patio. I can’t think of a better way to spend the morning.
Trails Near Paradise Inn, Mt. Rainier National Park
Another reason Paradise Inn is a popular spot is because it’s right at a trailhead for multiple epic trails in the Paradise section of Mt. Rainier National Park. We hiked the Skyline Trail Loop, passing by Panorama Point, and it immediately became one of my top five trails ever hiked. The consistent epic views along the way were unmatched. If you only have time for one trail in this section of the park, I’d consider this one. The full loop is about 6 miles and 1700ft elevation gain.
This is also a trailhead where people start to summit Mt. Rainier. This is only for very experienced climbers, and not something I’m attempting any time soon.
Mazama Ridge Loop also starts here which will take you past Reflection Lakes and Faraway Rock. Reviews on AllTrails seem very excited about this trail and the rating is “moderate,” as opposed to Skyline’s “hard.”
Whichever trail(s) you choose to hike on your stay in Mt. Rainier National Park, Paradise Inn is a great starting point for many of them, especially if you’re staying at the inn. It was so nice to just wake up, eat, and head out on our hike.
Cost of Staying at Paradise Inn, Mt. Rainier National Park
The cost to stay at Paradise Inn starts around $210 per night, with special discounted rates for seniors and military. There are also options to add on breakfast, or packages to make an anniversary or birthday extra special.
Pro Tip: If the booking website says there aren’t any rooms available on the dates you selected, they have a calendar view that will let you check multiple dates at the same time
Where to Stay in Mt. Rainier National Park (Other Options)
Paradise Inn is typically only open for the summer months. It opens late May and closes at the beginning of October. So, if you’re looking to visit Mt. Rainier National Park outside of that date range, or if the inn is full, here are other options inside the park.
National Park Inn
National Park Inn is the other hotel-style building where you can stay in Mt. Rainier National Park. It’s located in the Longmire section of the park and you’d actually drive past it to get to Paradise Inn. They have a full service dining room here, along with 25 guest rooms and a general store, so it can serve as a pit stop even if you’re not planning to stay here. Best of all, this inn is open year-round making it a great option if you’re visiting from October through May.
Camping in Mt. Rainier National Park
There are four campgrounds within Mount Rainier National Park: Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh, White River, and Mowich Lake. Mowich Lake is a primitive campground for walk-in tent camping only. The other three can accommodate RVs and trailers. They are each open from late spring through early fall and cost $20 to camp. White River is first-come, first-served only. However, you can make reservations for Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh here.
The National Park Service website has a very helpful chart to compare each of the campgrounds here.