|About the Site|
|Mt. Rainier National Park|
The Sunrise Area & Yakima Park
One of the most beautiful areas in Mt. Rainier National Park is the "park"--a large Alpine meadow-- known as Sunrise.
Sunrise is a beautiful valley which provides spectacular views of the east flank of Mt. Rainier. The Sunrise Valley is located at an altitude of 6400 feet.
The area provides excellent views of Emmons Glacier, the largest on Mt. Rainier.
From the northern section of the park there are also views of the rugged Tatoosh Range.
This beautiful and spectacular area exters a powerful draw on many visitors to the park, and this has existed for many years. The area was considered a special place for the indigenous peoples.
In earlier years the area was more often referred to as Yakima Park. The Yakima part comes from the Indian tribe of the same name, and "park" referred to an open meadow. However, the name has evolved away from confusion with the Washington city of Yakima in the center of the state. The name "Sunrise" was actually suggested by Horace Albright, the first NPS director Stephen T. Mather's able assistant.
The largest building in the Sunrise area is the Sunrise Visitor Center.
Sunrise Lodge is located in the center of the valley. It is a 2 story building whose dimensions are 51 by 137 feet. The building was originally planned to be a wing of the a much larger hotel to be built here.
Sunrise Lodge was originally built in 1931. Its architecture is obviously designed to reflect and complement the natural beauty of the area, and it is indeed a very handsome building.
While there are several buildings and other visitor amemities in the valley at the current time, there were once many additional facilities on the valley floor. There were once additional roads and a village of 215 small guest cabins.
For potential visitors, ParkVision recommends "Story Behind the Scenery" guides and "Trails Ilustrated" maps.
Sunrise was originally developed in the 1920's. A more elaborate plan for developing visitor facilities at the site was originally created but most of the early plans were never realized.
There are a few other buildings in the area currently.
Because of its location on the east side of the mountain, in the so-called "rain shadow", the Sunrise area gets less rain and snow than is found at Paradise. It is often sunny here when the mountain isn't visible from the Paradise area.
The open meadows of the Sunrise area provide spectacular vistas and views of Mt. Rainier and surrounding peaks and forests. In the beautiful meadow of Sunrise there are islands of subalpine fir and whitebark pine.
A series of trails lead from the parking area at Sunrise in several directions. Below, this is the view of the valley back toward the ridge east of the main area looking east. The prominent mountain east of the area is known as Antler Peak.
A closeup of the prominent rock east of Sunrise is shown below.
Hikers can get close to this rock via one of the trails which climb toward Sourdough Ridge from the visitor center area. The peak shown below can also be seen in the Sunrise area.
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