Grab your checkered tablecloth, pack your basket and enjoy a meal outdoors at one of Mt. Rainier National Park’s four designated picnic areas. Parking and restrooms are available in each area. Picnic Areas close seasonally during the winter months.
- Cougar Rock: Typically open late May to late Sept. Estimated to open for the season May 24, weather dependent.
- Paradise: Currently closed for the season. Estimated to open for the season June 28, weather dependent.
- Box Canyon: Currently closed for the season, Estimated to open for the season May 24, weather dependent, typically closes in October.
- Ohanapecosh Campground: Like the visitor center, the Ohanapecosh campground and picnic area are open from late May to early October.
- Sunrise: A few picnic tables are located behind the Visitor Center. This area is estimated to open for the season June 28, weather dependent.
A few picnic tables are also located around the park including the Kautz Creek rest area, in the Longmire area, Narada Falls and outside the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise.
Please note from mid-June through the month of August are peak visitation months at Mount Rainier National Park. To help avoid congestion and crowds here are a few helpful tips:
- Visit on a weekday if possible and arrive early in the morning before the bulk of the crowds or late in the day when most people are leaving will help you avoid long entrance station lines and delays, and difficulty finding a place to park.
- Arrive in the evening and go stargazing at the visitor centers at Paradise or Sunrise
- Have an alternate plan and destination in mind if long lines and waits are encountered entering the park. Experience the sights and activities of gateway communities during peak hours and weekends. USFS lands and the Crystal Mountain Resort provide nearby destination alternatives.
- Use an annual park or interagency pass, or having the correct payment in cash, can minimize time spent at the entrance station and keep the line moving. Credit card transactions take more time to process and contribute to delays. A new option is purchasing the pass online through YourPassNow.com and printing the pass before you visit.
- As peak season wait times increase to enter the park during popular summer weekends break up your trip by visiting the public restroom in Elbe on SR706 at the WSDOT-managed Safety Rest Area. In addition, visitors with children may enjoy letting them stretch their legs at the Ashford County Park located at 29801 SR706 in Ashford. The 80-acre park has walking trails, a playground with a large play structure, balancing elements, infant swings, and regular swings. There is plenty of parking, and public restrooms are located next to the playground.