Mt. Rainier: A castle in the clouds

One of the best parts about living in Washington state is randomly stumbling upon different views of Mount Rainier.

Mount Rainier looming over a house in the Stadium District in Tacoma in the summer. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mount Rainier looming over a house in the Stadium District in Tacoma in the summer. (Photo by Craig Craker)

Of course, just because you live nearby doesn’t mean you will actually get to see the mountain.

The first three times Veronica visited Washington, Rainier was shrouded by clouds – and two of those trips occurred in the summer.

Heck, in the summer of 2014, we took a trip to Paradise to see Rainier up close, yet despite it being sunny everywhere else, we never saw the mountain that day.

In the summer of 2014, we drove up to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. This was the only time we saw the mountain that day, and it wasn't very much of it. (Photo by Craig Craker)
In the summer of 2014, we drove up to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. This was the only time we saw the mountain that day, and it wasn’t very much of it. (Photo by Craig Craker)

But when Rainier does show her face, she is a majestic sight to behold.

Mount Rainier floating above Tacoma. This was shot from Fireman's Park in downtown Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mount Rainier floating above Tacoma. This was shot from Fireman’s Park in downtown Tacoma the day the U.S. men’s soccer team lost Belgium. Not a happy memory. (Photo by Craig Craker)

I’ve seen her from the air, from Prosser, from White Pass, from the Seattle area, the Tacoma area, I-5, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and many other places.

I’m not sure what my favorite view is, though they are all different.

This is another view that may not be familiar to a lot of Western Washington folks. This was shot from a viewpoint on the west side of White Pass. (Photo by Veronica Craker)
This is another view that may not be familiar to a lot of Western Washington folks. This was shot from a viewpoint on the west side of White Pass. (Photo by Veronica Craker)

Growing up in Kirkland, we would often take State Route 520 to Seattle. Seeing Rainier from the bridge deck in the summer is one of my fondest memories. Just a stunning site.

One of the best views of Seattle is from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill. You get the city’s skyline with the Space Needle in the foreground, and Rainier in the background.

Kerry Park has the best views of Seattle you can ask for. And if it is clear, you get the added bonus of Mt. Rainier in the distance. On the day we went, it was extremely hazy and the only way to get Rainier to show up at all was to convert the photo to black and white, and even then Rainier is just visible in the back right. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Kerry Park has the best views of Seattle you can ask for. And if it is clear, you get the added bonus of Mt. Rainier in the distance. On the day we went, it was extremely hazy and the only way to get Rainier to show up was to convert the photo to black and white, and even then it is just visible in the back right. (Photo by Craig Craker)

From Fireman’s Park in Tacoma, Mt. Rainier is framed by the Murray Morgan Bridge, which makes for a cool photo.

The Murray Morgan Bridge frames Mt. Rainier on a gorgeous sunny day in June 2014. You can get this shot from Fireman's Park in downtown Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)
The Murray Morgan Bridge frames Mt. Rainier on a gorgeous sunny day in June 2014. You can get this shot from Fireman’s Park in downtown Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)

There is also the quintessential Tacoma shot of Mt. Rainier taken on Ruston Way, where it appears to be hovering above the hospital on the Hilltop.

Mt. Rainier from Ruston Way in the summer. The hospital in the Hilltop neighborhood is often a photo subject in Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mt. Rainier from Ruston Way in the summer. The hospital in the Hilltop neighborhood is often a photo subject in Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)

Veronica works at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. One of her first assignments was touring a C-17 on McChord Field. That’s where she caught this amazing photo of Rainier with a C-17 in the foreground.

So I toured a C17 today… #howwasyourday?

A post shared by Veronica (@veroncraker) on

Veronica took my favorite photo of Rainier, which we have framed in our living room, from near the Fred Meyer on Bridgeport Way in University Place.

Mount Rainier floating above the trees. Veronica took this on her way home from work one day near the Fred Meyer on Bridgeport in University Place. (Photo by Veronica Craker)
Mount Rainier floating above the trees. Veronica took this on her way home from work one day near the Fred Meyer on Bridgeport in University Place. (Photo by Veronica Craker)

I stumbled upon a good view of the mountain framed by cherry blossoms on the soccer fields near Chambers Bay Park in University Place near the Chambers Bay golf course, which is hosting the 2015 U.S. Open.

Mt. Rainier looms above the soccer fields and the cherry blossoms at Chambers Bay Park in University Place. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mt. Rainier looms above the soccer fields and the cherry blossoms at Chambers Bay Park in University Place. (Photo by Craig Craker)

And recently, I hiked up Suntop Mountain and was afforded amazing views of the north face of Rainier from just 10 miles away.

Mount Rainier as seen from Suntop Mountain, 10 miles north. This is a different view of the mountain than I'm used to. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mount Rainier as seen from Suntop Mountain, 10 miles north. This is a different view of the mountain than I’m used to. (Photo by Craig Craker)

You know you are talking to a native Washingtonian when on a sunny day they ask if The Mountain is out.

I'm not entirely sure where this was taken. I think on 19th Street in Tacoma or Fircrest. But that's the beauty of Rainier. You are driving along some random city street and you look over and suddenly - bam! - there is Rainier in all her glory. (Photo by Craig Craker)
I’m not entirely sure where this was taken. I think on 19th Street in Tacoma or Fircrest. But that’s the beauty of Rainier. You are driving along some random city street and you look over and suddenly – bam! – there is Rainier in all her glory. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mount Rainier is just visible from the waterfront area of Chambers Bay Park in University Place. Chambers Bay Golf Course is hosting the 2015 U.S. Open in June and is certain to wow spectators with its views of Rainier and the Puget Sound. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mount Rainier is just visible from the waterfront area of Chambers Bay Park in University Place. Chambers Bay Golf Course is hosting the 2015 U.S. Open in June and is certain to wow spectators with its views of Rainier and the Puget Sound. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mt. Rainier in the spring from Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)
Mt. Rainier in the spring from Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. (Photo by Craig Craker)

Finally, here’s another one taken by Veronica while she was out for a walk during lunch at JBLM.

Went for a walk and ran into a friend! #mtrainier #pnw #jblm

A post shared by Veronica (@veroncraker) on

What are your favorite views of Rainier?

 

– Craig Craker

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Josh Wrenn says:

    I always got excited when driving across that curve on Aurora going toward downtown Seattle and you could see when the mountain was out.

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    1. Yes! It doesn’t matter how many times you see it, it is still spectacular every single time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    We moved to Washington last summer from Indiana and now live in the Covington area. We can see Rainier from our driveway in the winter (when the leaves are off the trees) and it’s visible as we drive around the area on those days when the mountain is actually “out.” To say that I’m obsessed with all things Rainier is putting it lightly. We ventured into the park last weekend, and now I’m more obsessed than ever. It’s an incredible sight, its beauty belying its danger. I love the waters of Puget Sound and the view of the Olympics from my office window, but the sight of Rainier – ANY sight of Rainier – takes my breath away. Every time.

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    1. That sounds amazing Rachel! Your story kind of sounds like mine. I grew up in the flat lands of Texas so when we finally moved over here I instantly fell in love with the mountain. – Veronica

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  3. Katie says:

    Check out the view of Rainier from the Target parking lot on Union Street. I don’t know why, but the mountain felt closer there than in other places in Tacoma. I remember the view along 19th was pretty exceptional. Jake and I could see the tip of the mountain from our place in UP, which was kind of crazy.

    It still boggles my mind that you can see the mountain from Prosser. On clear days, you can see it as you approach Monroe on Highway 2.

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    1. I love that view near the Target. For some reason Target is stressful to me so when I get in the parking lot and see that mountain I can’t help but chill out!

      Like

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