Cougar Rock Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is conveniently located 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 main attraction at Mount Rainier National Park is the mountain itself, a glacier-clad volcano of immense proportions. At 14,411 feet, it dominates the skyline for hundreds of miles. Visitors travel through majestic old-growth forest, past tumbling waterfalls and historic buildings to reach sub-alpine meadows, where world-famous wildflower displays are seen through July and August. Popular activities in the park include sight-seeing, hiking, rock climbing and camping.
The Cougar Rock area is located at an elevation of 3,180 feet. Summers are dry and cool with daytime temperatures in the 60 to 80-degree range. Weather throughout the park can be variable, so visitors should come prepared.
The 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.
From the facility, experienced hikers and backpackers can access the well-known, strenuous but beautiful Wonderland Trail, which encircles the park for 93 miles. For those who enjoy learning more about the parks natural and cultural history, there is an on-site amphitheater where interpretive programs are held.
The group campground has five campsites and is located within the general Cougar Rock Campground. Sites are relatively rustic, but have drinking water, flush toilets and picnic tables. All group campsites must 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.
Mount Rainier National Park is about 50 miles southeast of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.
Interpretive Programs: Educational Programs
Picnicking: Picnic Tables
Visitor Center: Ranger Station
Day Use Area: Amphitheater
Finding a great place to stay that is near Mt. Rainier National Park is always the best. Cougar Rock Campground is a perfect place to camp if you are wanting to do some hiking within the park. Located in Ashford, you are close to so many hikes, it’s amazing. My family and I did a few hikes a day because we couldn’t choose just 1. The views of Mt. Rainier are incredible on these hikes. You can see Rainier a tiny bit from the campground, too. Wonderland Trail is close by and it’s a perfect hike!! The campground is great, spacious and has the basic ammentities. Definitely get a reservation early, though, because it does fill up very fast. It was full when we got there and checked in around 1pm. They have bathrooms on site, picnic tables and fire pits. There is also a lookout point in the campground where you can see Mt. Rainier. Doesn’t get any better than that!! Highly recommend :)
Great location to camp if you are wanting to be right in the middle of mt rainier. Has easy access to paradise and beautiful hikes. The camp sites seemed a little close together but we still really enjoyed it. Loved the trees and hike to the river. Beautiful views.
Cougar Rock is a popular campground that gets you close to Paradise, but also an easy run back to Longmire if you need supplies or cell service. Lots of trees, good cover…like most NP campgrounds, get in early in the morn if you want a site. Grill, fire ring, grill plate, bear box, picnic table, all the usual stuff.
This campground is huge! got lost in it a few times… there are tons of great spots with nice fire rings and flat spots for tents. Firewood at the entrance to the campground. Didn’t see any showers but indoor plumbing in the bathrooms. Potable water by all the bathrooms as well. Many sites have pretty good privacy from the other sites even though they are relatively close together
really convenient campground if you’re going to be in Rainier. Little $$ at $20/night, but well maintained and plenty of spaces in early June! Tables and fire pits available, wood was sold in loop A, we stayed at loop C but didn’t realize that our site (C15) seemed to be lacking a bear box until after we set up camp. Borrowed one from an unoccupied neighboring site, but it could be an issue if it were busier. Also if you stay adjacent to a bathroom, bring an eye mask!
Best stars you'll see all year if you go on a clear day (go in the summer)! You can see Mount Rainer during the day, and take day trips to hiking trails with mountains and waterfalls and even a gondola near the ski resort. RV friendly and dogs welcome at campsite (just not on trails). Running water, flush toilets, and fire pit available. Not many bugs, might might get cold at night. Ranger apprently does an info talk around 8pm. Book site in advance (fills up quickly). Will have to pay a national park fee to get in.
Loved Cougar Rock but it didn't love us. We flew out there with our Florida gear in September, place was deserted except a few RV’s dispersed, had the place to ourselves, saw no other tents. Place was absolutely gorgeous, quite, and green. We froze to death and only lasted one night before booking it to Paradise to stay in the park motel. Bit of a drive but when in Rainier head out to Mowich Lake, totally worth it!
Arrived around 5pm on a Tuesday in June and had no problem securing a great spot. There were plenty of other visitors, so I imagine the weekend would be packed. The site we stayed in was close to the road, but quiet and beautiful. The wonderland trail is a quick jaunt from the campgrounds. Would recommend, but perhaps liked Ohanapecosh a tad bit more.
I went when there were no reservations required and found a sweet site. It is good to go in the off season. Reservations are all filled up during the busy season. Off-season for the win!!
So last summer my girlfriend and I were doing a Geocaching quest. We stayed at Cougar Rock a few days while looking for our caches. We really enjoyed having the trees at our camp site for our hammocks. We spent the hot afternoon napping and relaxing in our hammock. It was the best experience ever.