MYNORTHWEST LIFESTYLE

Headed to Mount Rainier National Park for the weekend? You may not get in

May 22, 2024, 5:08 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)

Over the last 10 years, Mount Rainier and the national park there have experienced a 40% increase in popularity, which makes it a hot spot for Memorial Day weekend.

According to Washington-based American Automobile Association (AAA) Vice President of Travel Michelle Glass, those who don’t have a timed entry reservation might not get in this weekend.

The national park hopes a pilot timed-entry reservation system will reduce wait times, heavy traffic and overcrowding.

“I asked our travel advisors, ‘Where are you seeing people going?'” Glass told KIRO Newsradio. “And, you know, they’re going to the national parks (like Glacier in Montana). They’re going early, before the parks get too crowded. Also, you might know, Rainier National Park is now starting on Friday by appointment only. You’re not getting in unless you make a reservation, a timed reservation.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday and Monday at Mount Rainier National Park have limited availability. But Saturday and Sunday appear to be sold out for the Paradise Corridor entrance.

This is how it works:

  • Friday-Monday, Sept. 2 (Labor Day),  timed-entry reservations are required to enter the Paradise Corridor on the south side of the park from from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.
  • Thursday, July 4-Monday, Sept. 2 timed-entry reservations are required to enter the Sunrise Corridor on the northeast side of the park from from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. daily.

Take note because the website also states that visitors entering the park in a vehicle or on a motorcycle in one of these areas during these dates need two items:

  1. A timed entry reservation or a service reservation (lodging, camping, wilderness permit, etc.)
  2. A park entrance fee or a valid park pass (annual, senior, military, etc.).

Also note that the park entrance fee will not be available online through recreation.gov during the timed entry reservation period between May 19 and Sept. 2. They must be purchased in person at entrances to the park.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the park is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week and visitors may enter timed-entry reservation areas before 7 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a reservation.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Headed to Mount Rainier National Park for the weekend? You may not get in