Set at the bottom of the glacially-carved, 3,000-foot deep White River Valley, White River Campground is Mount Rainier National Park's third largest campground with a total of 108 sites, and it is the main campground serving the Sunrise area.
Unlike the other two drive-in campgrounds in the park (Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh), White River doesn't take reservations, so be sure to get in extra early. In fact, like most national parks, finding camping spots can be an extremely onerous task. If White River Campground is full, consider driving 12.5 miles north on Highway 410 to Silver Springs Campground just outside of the park, or to Ranger Creek Landing Strip Campsites an additional 2 miles further downstream. Should you manage to grab a campsite, however, an overnight stay at White River Campground is truly magical. Numerous campsites, specifically those in the D Loop, flank the White River's sandy banks and provide views upstream to Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier and across the river to Goat Island Mountain.
From the campground visitors can venture down the Glacier Basin Trail, detouring onto the Emmons Moraine Trail, or hike the entire 3.2 miles (one-way) to Glacier Basin to gain impressive and unobstructed views of Mount Rainier. Jumping onto the Wonderland Trail, which passes through the campground, hikers can climb 2.5-miles of arduous switchbacks to Sunrise, or head south to make the long, 6.7-mile (one-way) journey to Summerland.
If you are looking to simply relax by the campsite, park rangers lead evening programs at the communal campfire Thursdays through Saturdays and Junior Ranger activities (for the little ones) Friday through Sunday. Posting for events should be found at the campground's bulletin board.
Note: RVs and trailers are not permitted at White River Campground. The campground is typically open late June through the end of September, but dates change based on snowpack and road conditions. For more information on the campground's schedule and the ranger-led programs, stop by the White River Wilderness Information Center at the White River Entrance, or call 360.569.6030. Further details can be found online at the National Park Service.