I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that Mount Rainier is the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Visible from Seattle on a clear day, it dominates the surrounding region. In fact, it is so large that it can also be seen from Portland and from the top of the mountains surrounding Vancouver. In terms of “Topographic prominence”, the distance from the summit to the lowest point surrounding it, it is actually the largest mountain in the continental United States.
Mount Rainier is actually a volcano, part of the same system which created Mount St. Helens. There has been no recorded eruptions since the early 19th century, but the volcano is still considered active. In terms of the potential damage it could do and its proximity to several major cities, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Even though it is ‘only’ 14,000 feet high (4,300m), it is still a very dangerous mountain to climb and it has taken the lives of several climbers in recent years.
While we wait for the volcano to destroy Seattle, it is a wonderful place to visit. It is very easy to access from both Seattle and Portland with exits off Interstate 5.