Mount Rainier Hiking by Starlight: A Stunning Camp Muir Experience

Mount Rainier Hiking by Starlight: A Stunning Camp Muir Experience

Not unlike many of my adventures, this one began with a nap. However, at 2:00 AM as a passenger on a slow, meandering drive through the forest, can you blame me? But as soon as our car slowed to a stop at the near-empty Paradise Visitor Center and my eyes took in our darkened surroundings, I knew that this was going to be a Mount Rainier hiking experience, unlike anything I'd ever encountered before. 

And for context, keep in mind that I guided Mount Rainier hiking trips for a living. Both down in the surrounding valleys and up here near the summit. But this time, a shimmering ocean of stars sparkled above us, very different from my usual daylight hikes. Our group of four hikers was far enough from the ambient light of Seattle for us to easily pick out the Milky Way, the Pleiades, and any number of other subtle cosmic beauties that often remain hidden. 

Mount Rainier itself wasn't precisely visible in this light, but we could detect its presence due to a distinct lack of light. Partway up that darkness was our destination – Camp Muir. With headlamps to light our way, we began hiking Mount Rainier with one of the mountain's most spectacular light shows about to unfold. 

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