Mount Rainier visitors seem to have an affinity for the paranormal. From flying saucers to Bigfoot sightings, if it’s wild and weird, somebody probably claims to have seen it at or around the park.
The first widely reported UFO sighting, or “flying saucer,” in the United States came from Mount Rainier. According to the Associated Press, just before 3 p.m. on June 24, 1947, Kenneth Arnold was flying his plane near the mountain when he reported seeing a bright light, followed by nine, noiseless unidentified high-speed objects “flying like a saucer would,” along the Cascades. Arnold’s report spurred a wave of similar sightings all over the world.
Legends of Sasquatch roaming the hills of the national landmark have been around for more than a century. Seasoned park ranger Curt Jacquot told us that in his 13 seasons, and eight years working at Mount Rainier year-round, he’s never seen or heard reports of a sighting of the creature.
There are, however, plenty of sightings reported on the internet. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which collects nationwide reports of Bigfoot sightings, has at least six reports of close encounters with the hairy biped on Mount Rainier. Reports include one from a longtime forest worker on the flanks of Mount Rainier in the summer of 2006. She was maintaining one of the trails when she heard something “slamming rocks together.” At first, she thought it could be a bear, until she saw a dark brown leg, and then a face. It wasn’t her first or last odd experience on the job with her crew.
Another encounter was reported in the early fall of 1994. Jim Felder, a 51-year-old biologist, described seeing a reddish-brown human-like creature stand up in the middle of a Forest Service road and run away on two legs.
“I know what I saw was not a deer, a bear, or an elk,” he described in the report recorded online. “It was a humanoid. It was also hunting season, so I doubt it was a joke!”