Situated between Mount Rainier National Park's two most visited areas, Longmire and Paradise, Cougar Rock Campground is a popular camping location that gets booked quickly. It is open for just two months out of the year during the summer peak season.
Located aside the Nisqually River, all 191 of its campsites are enclosed by a canopy of small to old-growth western hemlocks, various cedars, and Douglas firs, with breaks in the trees letting in plenty of light and exposing views of Mount Rainier's Point Success. Compared to the National Park's other main campgrounds (White River and Ohanapecosh), most of the campsites at Cougar Rock are packed in close to one another, and due to this layout, all of the sites have close access to plumbed bathrooms and potable water. The campground also features five group campsites, each large enough to accommodate 4-5 families.
The Wonderland Trail, one of the more notable hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, is accessed directly from the campground and offers a convenient opportunity to make the most of a day hike. Following the Nisqually River, the trail goes for a relatively flat 1.6 miles south to Longmire. Another hiking option from the campground is to head east 2.8 miles (with approximately 1,400 feet of elevation gain) following the Paradise River up to Narada Falls, passing 54-foot Carter Falls and 34-foot Madcap Falls. From Narada Falls, it's an additional 1.2 miles to Reflection Lakes.
Note: Cougar Rock Campground is open June 26 through August 31. RVs up to 35 feet and trailers up to 27 feet are permitted, however, the campground does not provide electric, water, or sewer hook-ups.