The Jackson Visitor Center’s Nisqually Vista trail is a stunning all-ages introduction to all that Rainier has to offer: picture postcard views, glaciers, and wildflowers. The rolling, paved 1.1-mile loop trail meanders gently down through meadows to an overlook viewpoint where you can admire the massive Nisqually Glacier. The glacier has receded a lot over the years. Look for the gravel-covered mound that used to be covered in ice, and read up on glacial retreat due to climate change in the visitor center.
For a more challenging trail, try the Alta Vista trail, a 1.5-mile mostly paved loop that climbs surprisingly steeply from the Paradise parking lot. It’s not stroller friendly, and if you’re breathing hard, remember you’re at 5,400 feet and going up. Take the left (steep!) fork to the Alta Vista summit for views of the Tatoosh range and Mt. Adams to the south. Or take the right fork to ascend to the Skyline Trail junction that takes you to Panorama Point (for families wanting a longer hike).