Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King advises that beginning Saturday, March 12 the road between Longmire and Paradise will have extended hours of operation. As weather and conditions allow, the road will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the uphill gate closing at 8:00 p.m. On weekdays, the road will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the uphill gate closing at 5:00 p.m. (weather and conditions permitting). These hours will be in effect until evening gate closures end, typically in mid-April. Rangers and road crew staff evaluate road, weather, and avalanche conditions each morning to determine when it is safe to open the gate located on the road from Longmire to Paradise. Daily road updates are posted on Twitter: twitter.com/MountRainierNPS.

At Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center is open weekends only, with extended hours of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning March 12. The Longmire Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and provides park information, winter activity guidance, and backcountry permits.

Winter backcountry camping is available in areas with sufficient snow depth. At least 5 feet is required to camp at Paradise, and other areas of the park require at least 2 feet of depth. Permits are required for all overnight stays, and can be obtained by calling 360-569-6575 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily. Overnight car camping is not allowed at any time.

In addition to the recreational opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding within the park, Mount Rainier’s snow play area will remain open through March 27, as conditions allow, in the designated area located directly north of the upper parking lots at Paradise. Sledding, tubing, and other sliding activities are permitted only in this location. The snow play area allows visitors to enjoy groomed snow runs, using “soft” sliding devices such as flexible plastic sleds, inner tubes, and plastic saucers. Hard toboggans and sleds with runners are not permitted because of the increased potential for injuries.

Ranger-guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are offered on weekends through March 27. Each walk lasts two hours, departing at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sign-ups are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and begin one hour in advance of each walk at the Jackson Visitor Center information desk. Participants should dress in warm layers with hats and gloves, and wear footwear suitable for snowshoes.  Sunglasses, sunscreen, and water are also advised.

Visitors are reminded that all vehicles (including 4WD) are required to carry tire chains or other approved traction devices (i.e. tire socks) when traveling in the park from November 1 – May 1. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for 4WD vehicles.  Tire chains are available for rent outside the park in Ashford and in the park at the National Park Inn in Longmire.