Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

In A Nutshell

On November 6 and 7, 2006, almost 18 inches of rain fell on Mount Rainier National Park in 36 hours. Park rivers became a churning mass of mud, trees, and rocks causing extensive damage to park roads and facilities. Just inside the park's southwest entrance, one quarter mile of the park road washed away. The flood waters exceeded anything the park has experienced in its 108-year history and the damage to roads, trails, campgrounds, bridges, sewer and power lines and buildings will exceed $36 million.

While scientists assess the damage and provide insights into the causes of the flood, the park service employees, partners, contractors and volunteers have begun a massive recovery effort. The repairs will take months, if not years, to complete, but the park is open!

PUBLIC ACCESS

As of publication, many of the park roads were closed due to winter snow, as is typical from November to April. Many others are closed due to flood damage or road construction. The following is a summary of your options for accessing each area of the park. For the most up to date information, call (360) 569-2211, or if you are in the park, stop by a park visitor center or park headquarters.

Stevens Canyon Road

Stevens Canyon Road, which connects Paradise Road to Hwy 123, was washed out in three locations and is scheduled to open, weather permitting, from the west as far as Reflection Lakes on May 25. Between Reflection Lakes and Backbone Ridge, sections are expected to open as repairs are made. Check with a ranger or call the park for road status.

Ohanapecosh and Highway 123

Repairs to major washouts will keep State Route 123 from Stevens Canyon to Cayuse Pass closed all summer.

Highway 410

State Route 410 will open as usual in mid-May. The road to White River Campground will open May 25, to give trailhead access to hikers and climbers. The Sunrise Road and Visitor Center will open on June 15 two weeks early, to offset the loss of access to other areas of the park.

Carbon River Road

The road between the Carbon River Entrance and Ipsut Creek Campground was heavily damaged by the flood and is currently closed to all vehicle access and is accessible on foot. A rough trail has been cut and flagged through the damaged areas and is open to the public for walking or bicycling, a distance of 4 miles each way. 

Repair work on the Carbon River Road cannot begin until the end of marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl nesting seasons in mid-August. The road will not open this summer to vehicles and Ipsut Creek Campground will be managed as a backcountry camp. 

Mowich Lake Road

The Mowich Lake Road is scheduled to open on June 29.

Getting Around

There is no public transportation into the park. Rental cars are available at all of the airports listed.

TRANSPORTATION

Access to the park is limited due to the November 2006 flood. Call ahead for road conditions at (360) 569-2211.

Getting to Mount Rainier

Car: From Seattle (about 87 miles away) or Tacoma (about 65 miles away), take Hwy. 5 South to Hwy. 512 East, then drive south on Hwy. 7; continue east on Hwy. 706 at Elbe and continue on to the Nisqually Entrance. From Portland, Oregon (about 136 miles away), take I-5 North to U.S. 12 East to Morton; then take Hwy. 7 North and turn east on Hwy. 706 at Elbe, continuing on to the Nisqually Entrance. 

Southwest entrance: Follow the above directions to Nisqually Entrance, which is the only entrance open year-round. 

Southeast entrance: From Yakima, take Hwy. 12 West, then take Hwy. 123 North to Stevens Canyon Entrance. 

Northeast entrance: From Seattle/Tacoma, take Hwy. 410 South; from Yakima, take Hwy. 12 to Hwy. 410 North, to White River Entrance. 

Northwest entrance: Take Hwy. 165 South to Carbon River Road. The road is subject to flooding; please use caution. Call ahead for road conditions.

In the winter, all park roads are closed except the stretch between Nisqually and Paradise and Carbon River Road. Call ahead for road conditions at (360) 569-2211.

Air: The closest major airports are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (85 miles away) and Portland International Airport (168 miles away). 

Bus: Gray Line Tours of Seattle offers scheduled bus tours into the park from mid-spring through mid-fall; call (800) 426-7532 or (206) 626-5208. Northwestern Trailways has service to major towns and cities. Please call (206) 728-5955 for more information.

Train: There is no rail service into the park. Amtrak, however, has rail service to Seattle, Tacoma and Centralia on its north-south route, and to Seattle, Auburn, Ellensburg and Yakima on its east-west route.

PLANNING YOUR STAY

The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round, including holidays, except in winter when snow may close entrance roads.

Entrance Fees

Entrance to the park is $15 per vehicle and $5 per person for pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, or members of a non-commercial organized group. A Mount Rainier Annual Pass is available for $30 and covers entrance fees for the pass holder and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle at Mount Rainier National Park, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and Whitman Mission National Historic Site. 

The America the Beautiful— National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is available to the general public for $80 and provides access to Federal recreation sites that charge entrance fees for one year, beginning from the date of sale. The pass admits the pass holder and up to three additional adult passengers in a non-commercial vehicle (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can be obtained in person at the park, by calling (888) ASK USGS or via the Internet at www.parkpass.net. Lifetime passes are available for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or over ($10 Senior Pass) or those with permanent disabilities (free with the required documentation). For information visit www.parkpass.net.

Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders can still use them for the rest of his or her life.

Weather

Mount Rainier creates its own weather, so prepare for a variety of conditions. Dress in layers, and carry a sweater and rain gear. Summer temperatures average in the 70s; winter temperatures average in the 30s. Expect freezing temperatures and snowstorms in winter. 

Park Newspaper

The Tahoma News, the park news-paper, offers up-to-date information on NPS naturalist walks, programs and other activities. It is available at park entrance stations, visitor centers and also online at www.nps.gov/mora.

Visitor Centers

When you arrive, stop at a visitor center first and speak to park rangers who can answer your questions. Backcountry camping permits, ranger-guided walks, evening campfire programs, maps and books are available. 

Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, located at Paradise, is open daily from early May to mid- October and on Saturday, Sunday and holidays from mid-October to early May. The visitor center offers exhibits on geology, glaciers, flora, fauna and mountain climbing. For more information, please call (360) 569-6036.

Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, at Ohanapecosh on Hwy. 123, is open weekends, from late May to mid-June, and daily from mid-June to early October. The center offers exhibits on wildlife, old-growth forests and local history. For more information, please call (360) 569-6046.

Sunrise Visitor Center, at the end of Sunrise Road, has displays, naturalist-led walks, and programs on Mount Rainier's subalpine ecology and alpine life zones. Viewing telescopes let you get a close-up look of the mountain's lava ridges and glaciers. The center is open daily from mid-June through mid-September. Call (360) 663-2425 for more information.

Longmire Wilderness Information Center, White River Wilderness Information Center and Carbon River Ranger Station are open in the summer. All offer trail information and backcountry camping permits.

Park Headquarters is located near Ashford, nine miles west of the Nisqually Entrance. Please call (360) 569-2211 for more information.

Museum

Located in the Longmire Historic District, the Longmire Museum is one of the NPS's oldest operating interpretive museums, housed in a historic building that was the first park headquarters. Open daily, year-round, it has exhibits on the park's natural and human history and NPS history. Please call (360) 569-2211, ext. 3314 for more information. Next to the museum, a transportation exhibit is housed in the former Longmire Gas Station.

Dining, Lodging and Camping

Enjoy a range of dining options and comfortable accommodations and campsites at Mount Rainier. Please see "Lodging & Dining" for more information. 

Special Services -

Park facilities and activities that are wheelchair-accessible are indicated by this symbol: -. There are reserved, accessible parking spaces for visitors with disabilities and ramps to all visitor centers and the Longmire Museum. Jackson Visitor Center is only accessible during the summer (winter entry requires climbing two flights of stairs or navigating a snowy ramp). Visitor center restrooms have limited accessibility. Cougar Rock, Ohanapecosh and Sunshine Point campgrounds are designated for visitors with disabilities. Cougar Rock has an accessible picnic area and restrooms. Trails near the visitor center at Paradise are paved, but some are steep. Wheelchair users may require assistance. Kautz Creek Interpretive Trail is 3.1 miles west of Longmire and 0.1-mile in length. This fully accessible trail leads to a view of the 1947 Kautz Creek mudflow. Kautz Creek also has an accessible picnic area and restrooms -. Contact the park at (360) 569-2211, for more information.

Visitor Services

Banking Services: Automated teller machines (ATMs), foreign currency exchange and other banking services are available in Eatonville, Enumclaw, Morton and Puyallup. There are ATMs at Ashford Valley Grocery, Suver's General Store and in Packwood.

Camping and Picnic Supplies: Camping and picnic supplies, as well as firewood and groceries, are available on a limited basis at the General Store in Longmire. Firewood can also be purchased at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds.

Emergencies and Medical Services: From any phone physically located in the park, call 911 for emergency medical or ranger assistance, or to report accidents or injuries. Park Headquarters, visitor centers and ranger stations have first-aid facilities. Hospitals and dental services are in Morton (30 miles south), Enumclaw (40 miles north), and Puyallup (60 miles northwest).

Gas Stations: There are no gas stations located in the park. Gas and repair services are available in Enumclaw, Eatonville, Ashford, Elbe and Packwood. If your car breaks down in the park, contact a park ranger or call the park's main number at (360) 569-2211.

Gift Shops: There are gift shops at Sunrise Day Lodge and Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. The shops offer t-shirts, posters, books, curios, jewelry, gifts and American Indian crafts. Visit the General Store at the National Park Inn at Longmire.

Lost and Found: Turn in found items and check for lost ones at the closest ranger station or visitor center. Contact the Superintendent's Office, Mount Rainier National Park, Tahoma Woods, Star Route, Ashford, WA 98304; (360) 569-2211 to inquire about lost items. 

Pets and Kennels: Pets are not permitted on park trails. The nearest kennels are located in Ashford, advance reservations required by calling (360) 569-8833.

Post Office: Postal services are available at National Park Inn at Longmire (year-round) and in local communities.

Religious Services: Religious services are available in the park during the summer and in local communities year-round.