With the summer season in full swing, crowds begin making their way to the higher elevations of Mount Rainier. A mix of locals and tourists make the uphill trek to hike, enjoy wildflower meadows or simply get a closer look at the majestic, glacier-covered mountain.
Weather plays a role at Rainier, keeping crowds away until condition are safe. Here’s a look at where things stand.
• The road to Sunrise opened last week, providing visitors the highest point on Rainier accessed by automobile. According to the National Park Service, the visitor center is closed but the Sunrise Day Lodge is open; at the visitor center, park rangers are staffing information tables to greet guests and provide information.
The road also provides access to the White River Campground, which is open.
Sunrise is accessed by traveling state Route 410 east from Enumclaw. The road branches off the highway just a bit east of Chinook Pass.
• The 16-mile Mowich Lake Road opened to vehicles last Friday, July 16. The road provides a world of hiking opportunities for novice and expert alike and the pristine lake is worth the trip.
Mowich is found by traveling state Route 165 out of Buckley, through Wilkeson and Carbonado and across the one-lane Fairfax Bridge. When the pavement bends to the left (toward the Carbon River Ranger Station) Mowich-bound travelers will continue straight ahead.
• Those looking for an experience on the “other side” of Mount Rainier can consider the following: travel around the mountain is possible because both Chinook and Cayuse passes are open (although Cayuse travelers might experience some delays due to road construction); Ohanapecosh Campground is open; the Nisqually and Stevens Canyon entrances are open; and the popular road from Longmire to Paradise is open.