Paradise Sledding Area | Visit Rainier
girl tubing on snow wearing a mask

Paradise Sledding Area Closed for the Season March 31st

Sledders at the Snowplay area at ParadiseEffective March 31, 2021, the Paradise Sledding Area is Closed for the Season

With the accumulation of sufficient snowpack, sledding runs (referred to as the Snowplay Area) at Paradise have been groomed and are ready for park visitors.

While beautiful, the greater Paradise area contains avalanche zones, unstable snow bridges, and deceptively steep drop-offs where sledding activities are unsafe. The official Snowplay Area is the safest and only location that sledding is permitted in Mount Rainier National Park.

Sledding (Snowplay) Area

  • Is clearly marked by poles and ropes, and is suitable for children

  • There is a small sledding hill just for small children

  • Only plastic and soft-sided sled devices may be used (no wooden or metal sleds permitted)

  • Snowshoeing and skiing are not permitted in the Snowplay Area

  • Visitors are responsible for maintaining public health guidelines. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visitors should recreate only with members of their household, wear a mask, and maintain social distance from other groups.

  • Pets are permitted only in the parking lot

Q: How do I get to the sledding area?

A: The Snowplay Area is located above the upper parking lot at Paradise, near the visitor center and Paradise Inn. Drive to Paradise and park, walk to the upper lot if necessary, and continue up the snow ramp on the uphill side of the parking lot.

Visitors should review the following information to ensure their visit is safe and enjoyable.

Q: Do I need to make reservations for sledding? 

A: No, reservations are not required.

Q: Is there an extra fee to go tubing or sledding? 

A: Only the entrance fee to enter Mount Rainier National Park, there is no additional cost to use the snowplay area.

Q: What’s the closest place to stay? 

A: The National Park Inn is the only lodging inside Mount Rainier National Park that is open this time of year. Click here for a list of kid-friendly lodging near the park entrance.

Q: What’s the weather like at Mount Rainier?

Visitors should understand that weather and road conditions at Mount Rainier are likely to be very different compared to where they may be traveling from. While traveling up to Paradise, drivers will encounter unpredictable winter alpine weather and icy roads. Visitors should start their planning with a review of the Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast. This local forecast provides the most timely and accurate information for weather at various elevations and locations in the park. Visit the park’s website for general information on safe winter recreation.

Q: What time does the sledding area open? 

A: The snowplay operational status is reliant on weather, road, and safety conditions. Visitors are encouraged to check the Mount Rainier National Park Twitter feed each morning to see if the road to Paradise is open. The general rule of thumb is, once snowplay opens for the season if the road to Paradise is open snowplay is open. You do not need a Twitter account to read the park’s updates.

Q: When does snowplay usually close for the season? 

A: The closing date hasn’t been established as of 3/18/21 but based on the current snowpack it is possible the sledding area could remain open until the end of March. We do not anticipate the sledding/tubing area will be open during the first week of April. Please check the Mount Rainier National Park website for more information. 

Paradise and Longmire Winter 2021 Operations Guide
 

Area

Open/Available

Closed/Unavailable

Paradise area
(5,400′ elevation)

  • Restrooms
  • Parking lots
  • Self-guided snowshoeing, Nordic and backcountry skiing
  • Winter camping, with a permit
  • All vehicles (including 4WD) must carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices
  • View webcams to see what current conditions are like
  • Groomed sledding (snowplay) area is now open
  • Follow all public health guidelines related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • Buildings/warming stations.  Visitors must be prepared to use their vehicles as a warming area.
  • Ranger-guided snowshoe walks
  • Food/beverages/gifts
  • Leashed pets permitted in parking lots only and never on trails or snow. Service dogs allowed.
  • Drones not allowed
  • Water filling stations

Longmire area
(2,760′ elevation)

  • Sledding not allowed in Longmire
  • Leashed pets permitted in parking lots only, and never on trails or snow. Service dogs allowed.
  • Drones not allowed
  • Camping prohibited in Longmire

Roads, Gates, and Public Access

Many park roads and developed areas are typically closed in winter. Staff plow from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise starting at 5:00 am daily, with priority given to roads and critical facilities in Longmire. Crews then clear the road between Longmire and Paradise, with a goal of opening the gate between Longmire and Paradise by 9:00 am. The actual opening time will vary. Each morning, a risk assessment matrix is used that considers current and projected weather, road and avalanche conditions, equipment status and available staffing. Unlike other roads and highways in the state, the road to Paradise is maintained without salt, with minimal sanding, and without blasting for avalanche control. In addition, the park’s small crew does not support a 24-hour operation. For safety, the gate to Paradise closes nightly, with uphill access ending at 4:00 pm to allow visitors to exit by 5:00 pm, when the gate is locked for the night. While staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate opens later than projected, public and staff safety is the highest priority. Please note that a clear parking lot at Paradise on the webcam doesn’t mean the road to Paradise is safe. All vehicles (including 4WD) must carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices inside the park.

Winter camping

Camping is allowed in many areas throughout the park in winter with a valid permit. Access to camping is dependent on road conditions and snow depth.

Paradise Day Use Zone Winter Camping (Paradise area, outside of Wilderness)

  • Snow camping allowed with a permit

  • Sites must be more than 300 feet from buildings, roads, established winter trails, and the designated Snowplay Area

  • The maximum party size is 6 people (up to 12 people if from the same household)

Winter Camping, parkwide (outside of Paradise)

  • Camping is allowed with a permit when snow depth exceeds 2 feet depth at the site

  • Sites must be more than 200 feet from roads and at least 300 feet from lakes, streams and wetlands

  • The maximum party size is 6 people (up to 12 people if from the same household)

Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on weather conditions, current and projected snowfall, and avalanche conditions before coming to the park. Backcountry travelers must heed warnings and come prepared to survive winter conditions. Vehicle access to other areas of the park is closed for the winter, but the following areas remain open for non-vehicle based primitive recreation, with no services available. Please note that temporary closures may become necessary due to changing conditions:

  • Carbon River Road

  • Mowich Lake Road

  • Paradise Valley Road

  • Ricksecker Point Road

  • SR123 (Cayuse Pass)

  • SR410 (Chinook Pass)

  • Stevens Canyon Road

  • Sunrise Road

  • Westside Road

  • White River Road 

Getting Current information

All changes are announced on the park’s Twitter feed. Always check @MountRainierNPS before you travel for the latest status. A Twitter account is not required to view announcements. We also remind our visitors to please follow the “Three Ws” and Wear a mask, Watch your distance, and Wash your hands frequently.

Communities in the area provide great getaway experiences throughout the year. 

Snowplay
Photo from the archives of Snowplay groomed runs at Paradise, photo taken pre COVID.