Top Ten Extreme Destinations

Some people push life to the limits, seeking out locations from the pages of Guinness World Records like they are a packing to-do list. These ten destinations represent the most extreme climates in the world and offer unparalleled stories once you land back on home turf.
By Jodi Helmer
Mount Rainier, Washington
The stuff of legends: Mount Rainier is usually completely snow-covered by Thanksgiving. (Karl Weatherly)

Snowiest: Mount Rainier, Washington
Surprise! The snowiest place on earth isn't in a remote destination like the North Pole—it's right here in the United States. Washington State's Mount Rainier receives an annual snowfall of 630 inches, or just over 52 feet.

The 14,410-foot peak—located just 50 miles southeast of Seattle in the Cascade Range—is set within Mount Rainier National Park, a 235,625-acre winter wonderland where outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are king. Inside the park are 26 major glaciers and 36 square miles of permanent snowfields. It was one of the country's first national parks established and is now a popular playground for mountain climbers, housing the largest glaciated mountain in the contiguous United States.

As the tallest peak in the Cascades, Mount Rainier had long held the Guinness World Record for snowfall. During the 1971–72 season, it received a whopping 93.5 feet. In 1999, nearby Mount Baker broke the record measuring 95 feet in just one season.

Mount Rainer is also an episodically active volcano, last erupting in the 1800s. Though it is quiet now, geologists predict that its rumbling is not over quite yet.


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