Mount Rainier National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, and stargazers are no exception.
With very little light pollution, the Sunrise area of the park offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re planning a trip to the park to stargaze, here are some secrets to make your experience unforgettable.
- Check the weather
Clear skies are essential for stargazing, so check the weather forecast before you go. You can visit the National Weather Service website for accurate and up-to-date information on the weather at Mount Rainier National Park.
- Plan ahead
Plan your trip ahead of time, and be sure to purchase your Mount Rainier pass online before you arrive. You can print your pass at home and display it in your vehicle. If you arrive and find the gate not staffed, enter the park and display your pass in your vehicle.
If you plan to stay overnight, apply for a wilderness permit online. Vehicles are not permitted to stay in the parking lot overnight unless they have a wilderness permit for a multi-day backpacking trip. Be sure to park in the designated space for overnight parking.
- Be considerate
When you arrive, be considerate of other stargazers and photographers. Try to limit the use of flashlights and your vehicle lights once you park your car. Be hyper-aware of headlights, as they can ruin night vision. Instead, use a red light to maintain your night vision while allowing you to see. You can wrap layers of red cellophane around a flashlight and affix it with a rubber band or purchase an actual red light. Red lights really do make a difference!
- Know the restrictions
While stargazing, keep in mind that camping overnight in vehicles is not permitted. The Day Lodge at Sunrise is the only place with to-go food and beverage items. Restroom facilities are not locked, but the buildings have motion detectors that will automatically turn on the lights. Turning on the lights will temporarily ruin your night vision.
- Follow the rules
Enjoying time in nature can play an important part in overall well-being, but safely hiking and camping during COVID require extra planning. Please join us in planning ahead to leave no trace and #recreateresponsibly. Always be respectful of the park’s wildlife and leave no trace of your visit.
- Check the road status
Make sure the road to Sunrise is open. The road to Sunrise is open seasonally. The 2023 opening date is TBD. Check the park’s website or call ahead to confirm that the road is open.
Stargazing at Mount Rainier National Park is an experience like no other. With these secrets, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable adventure. Don’t forget to tag us #visitrainier if you post your photos to Instagram or Twitter. Happy stargazing!