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Originally published Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

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Day trip: Mount Rainier

Thanks to frequent cloud cover, some visitors only ever get to see Rainier on Washington’s license plates. Got a sunny day? Make a run for the mountain.

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Thanks to frequent cloud cover, some visitors only ever get to see Rainier on Washington’s license plates. Got a sunny day? Make a run for the mountain.

The aptly named Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park is accessible year-round. Here, get a look at one of the snowiest places on Earth (93.5 feet in one record-setting winter), and you’ll often find snow until July. Once it’s melted out, wander among eye-popping alpine meadows of lupine, paintbrush, avalanche lilies and other wildflowers. Above it all, the 14,410-foot peak looms like a Super, Super, Super-Sized scoop of French vanilla.

For lunch, or if you want to make it an overnight, the historic Paradise Inn is open from late May to October (www.mtrainierguestservices.com). Or try the popular Copper Creek Inn, for food or lodging, down the mountain near Ashford in Pierce County (coppercreekinn.com).

Getting there: Seattle to Paradise via Highway 706: 99 miles (about 2½ hours). Park entrance: $15 per vehicle.

Information: Mount Rainier National Park, 360-569-6575, www.nps.gov/mora

Brian J. Cantwell: 206-748-5724 or bcantwell@seattletimes.com

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