Cougar Rock Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is convenient to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a lodge and visitor center, many miles of hiking trails and a commanding view of the mountain-the highest in the state and Cascade range.
The main attraction at Mount Rainier National Park is the mountain itself, a massive glacier-clad volcano, peaking at 14,411 ft. and dominating the skyline for hundreds of miles. Visitors travel through majestic old-growth forests, past tumbling waterfalls and historic buildings to reach sub-alpine meadows, where world-famous wildflower displays bloom through July and August. Popular activities in the park include sight-seeing, hiking, rock climbing and camping.
Cougar Rock campground is located at an elevation of 3,180 feet. Summers are dry and cool with daytime temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees. Weather throughout the park can be variable, so visitors should come prepared.
From the facility, experienced hikers and backpackers can access the well-known, strenuous and beautiful Wonderland Trail, which encircles the park for 93 miles. For those who enjoy learning more about the park’s natural and cultural history, there is an on-site amphitheater where interpretive programs are held.
Cougar Rock is relatively rustic, but has drinking water, flush toilets and picnic tables at all 173 campsites. This facility is one of only two campgrounds in the park with campsites that can be reserved. Visitors must use extra caution with food storage, as foxes and other animals have been known to frequent the campground looking for food.
Cougar Rock Campground has one lookout point from which campers can view Mt. Rainier. Although it is peaceful now, the still active volcano last erupted in the mid 1800s. The campground is adjacent to the Nisqually River and is surrounded by thick forests. A short drive to Paradise in summer reveals fields of lush wildflowers.
Mount Rainier National Park is about 50 miles southeast of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.Cougar Rock Campground is located 14 miles east of Ashford, Washington, on State Route 706/Paradise Road.360-569-6626