Flowers on Mount Rainier.
Photograph by Craig Tuttle, Corbis Now you see it, now you don’t. Mount Rainier, true to its name, disappears behind cloud banks, stays hidden for days and weeks at a time, and reappears in most dramatic fashion. Sometimes, it floats above the clouds, visible only to mountaineers on its glacier-decked slopes and to thrilled passengers of flights climbing south from Seattle.
When weather permits, 14,410-foot-high Rainier is visible from most of western Washington and far out to sea. It looms above the skyline of downtown Seattle as if its glaciers were invading suburban neighborhoods. Of course the best encounters are from park roads and trails, notably on the south side in the area called Paradise, known for its wildflower meadows, views of the mountain, prodigious snowfall, and the occasional rainstorm.