MYNORTHWEST LIFESTYLE

If you want to go to Mount Rainier, mark Monday on your calendar

Mar 29, 2024, 1:48 PM

Image: Mount Rainier can be seen from Eatonville near Mount Rainier National Park....

Mount Rainier can be seen from Eatonville near Mount Rainier National Park. (Photo: Thomas O'Neill, NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(Photo: Thomas O'Neill, NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It will be tougher to visit Mount Rainier National Park this summer, but it should be more pleasant.

In a move to improve visitor satisfaction and reduce congestion, the park will implement a reservation system for entry during the peak summer months of 2024. While this change may require a bit more planning, it promises a smoother and more enjoyable experience for all.

Superintendent Greg Dudgeon explained the rationale behind the new system.

“We’ve seen too many frustrated visitors stuck in long lines at the entrance stations, waiting for a chance to explore our beautiful park. By spreading out visitation throughout the day, we hope to alleviate crowding and enhance everyone’s enjoyment,” Dudgeon said.

Reservations for Mount Rainier National Park’s timed entry system for 2024 are available online at Recreation.gov’s website now for the Paradise Corridor and April 1 for the Sunrise Corridor. Additional reservations are available at 7 p.m. the day before arrival for the Paradise Corridor (May 24–June 30, 2024) and the Sunrise Corridor (July 4, 2024). Reservations for August through Labor Day will open on May 1.

Related story: Washington’s scorching weather causes lahar on Mt. Rainier.

Reservations cost $2 and cover one vehicle. They also provide a two-hour window during which you can enter. There is no mandatory departure time set with reservations.

Key details for planning a trip to Mt. Rainier

  • Reservation Requirement: Visitors must have a reservation to enter the park between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. via the Nisqually, Stevens Canyon, or Sunrise/White River entrance stations.
  • Corridor Specifics: Paradise Corridor is accessible from the Nisqually Entrance (via State Route 706) or the Stevens Canyon Entrance (via State Route 123), this corridor will require reservations from May 24 through September 2. Sunrise Corridor entry, via the White River Entrance (via State Route 410), will require reservations from July 3 through September 2.
  • Booking Process: Reservations can be made through Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. July dates will be available on Recreation.gov starting February 21, 2024, for the Paradise Corridor and April 1, 2024, for the Sunrise Corridor. August through Labor Day reservations will open on May 1. Additionally, a limited number of reservations will be released daily at 7 p.m. for the following day.
  • Cost and Entry Window: Each reservation covers one personal vehicle and costs $2. The reservation provides a two-hour entry window. For example, a 9 a.m. reservation allows entry between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., with no fixed departure time.
  • Exceptions: No reservations are needed for entry before 7 a.m. or after 3 p.m. Visitors with in-park reservations for lodging or camping in either corridor can enter anytime after 1 p.m. on their first day.

News near the park: State Troopers detain two dogs while on paw-trol near Mt. Rainier

Park officials hope this approach will enhance the experience for visitors while preserving the park’s beauty.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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If you want to go to Mount Rainier, mark Monday on your calendar