Autumn has officially arrived to Mount Rainier National Park, and as the leaves start to turn color, park facilities begin the extended process of winterization to prepare for changing weather. Most park areas are still accessible by road, even as facilities begin to close for the season. Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to visit the park!
Mount Rainier National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24. Entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day, with two large volunteer projects open to public participation at Sunrise – volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free park admission on a day of their choice. Registration begins at 8:00 am at the White River Campground, with work groups dividing up after a 9:00 am welcome, to do either trail maintenance or revegetation of native plants.
Visitor Centers at Ohanapecosh and Sunrise will remain open with daily operations through Sunday, September 25. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center daily hours are from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, and the Sunrise Visitor Center is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The Sunrise Day Lodge is also open from11:00 am to 4:00 pm this Saturday and Sunday, before closing for the winter. The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise will adjust to winter hours after Monday, October 11. JVC winter hours are 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, weekends only, with extended hours during the November and December holidays. The Longmire Museum is open year round, open daily during the fall/winter season from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
This week is the final opportunity of the season to camp at the White River Campground, which closes for the season beginning September 26. The campgrounds at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh will remain open for camping until October 10, with first-come-first-served availability. Picnic areas at Cougar Rock, Paradise, Box Canyon, and Ohanapecosh have estimated closure dates later in October, which are weather dependent.
The Paradise Inn closes for the season on Monday, October 3. The National Park Inn at Longmire remains open year-round for lodging and dining services.
The paving project at the upper and lower parking lots at Paradise will continue through the week of September 26-30, weather conditions permitting.
Wilderness Information Centers located at Longmire and White River will both remain open from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm daily, through Monday, October 10. After this date, backcountry permits are issued through the Longmire Museum or Carbon River Ranger Station (call 360-569-6624 for hours). The Climbing Information Center at Paradise has closed for the season; climbers must register at the Jackson Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays, or self-register at the Paradise Ranger Station.
Additional seasonal closures will be announced at a future date. Before making plans, check the current status of roads, facilities, campgrounds, and trails on the park website at www.nps.gov/mora.