Photo courtesy National Park Service

Photo courtesy National Park Service

Some areas on Mount Rainier now open to visitors

For the most part, only daytime use is being permitted, but back country camping is available.

As state and county officials begin to ease the “stay at home” rules, people are understandably anxious to get out and stretch their legs. In this part of the Puget Sound region, that often means heading for the higher highlights provided by Mount Rainier.

“Throughout history, Americans have looked to their public lands for solace and recreation during times of crisis,” Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said. His comments were pointed primarily to popular mountain venues on Rainier’s southern flank, like Longmire and Paradise.

But what about those areas of the park accessed through Enumclaw, via state Route 410? There’s some good news on this side as well.

Jenkins reported that expanded access is now available on the park’s east side – near the White River and Ohanapecosh campgrounds – for hiking and picnicking. Overnight use of campgrounds will begin at a later date and amenities like visitor centers and developed campgrounds will remain closed until park staff determine it is safe to reopen them.

As part of a National Park Service press release, it was noted that state routes 410 and 123 (Chinook and Cayuse passes) remain open, along with all trailheads accessed by those highways.

The White River Road is open as far as the White River Campground, but the campground is available only for trailhead access and day use.

While park trails are open, visitors are advised to check the park’s website for current conditions, as high elevation trails are still snow-covered.

For the hearty adventurers, overnight, backcountry (non-campground) camping is available. A permit is required and must be obtained online, at least 48 hours in advance. To plan a backcountry trip or to get a backcountry permit online, visit: https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping-and-hiking.htm.

Sunrise, a popular destination accessed from SR 410, does not typically open until July. That’s expected to be the case again this year.

Heading toward the mountain through Buckley leads visitors to the Carbon River entrance, which was damaged by winter storms. Guests can park along the road outside the entrance and walk in.

Park visitors can use Highway 123 to access the Grove of the Patriarchs trailhead and restrooms.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN

Those looking to make a trip to the “other side” can use the park’s southwestern (Nisqually) entrance near Ashford and travel to both Longmire and Paradise.

All trailheads along the entrance road that are normally accessible this time of year are open. Also open is the Cougar Rock Picnic Area.

The National Park Inn’s store at Longmire is open for gifts and grab-and-go food service only (no lodging or dining access).

IT’S NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL ON RAINIER

The National Park Service is working to gradually increase access and services across all its units, including Mount Rainier National Park. Staff is using a phased approach that aligns with guidance from the national, state and local authorities. Due to employee housing limitations and revenue reductions, the park is reportedly working with about half of its regular summer workforce.

As park facilities reopen, staff is asking visitors to follow now-standard measures: check the park’s website (nps.gov/mora) for updates on the status of the place you plan to visit; if possible, consider visiting on a weekday; prepare for facilities to be closed, pack a lunch, and take essentials like hand sanitizer and face masks. Park staff encourages everyone to maintain physical distancing and limit groups to members of an immediate household.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Alvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

Two signs are found on the Enumclaw Youth Center window this week. The older, on the right, explains the center's March closure. The sheet on the left announces the center will now be open four hours per week. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Enumclaw Council unhappy with Youth Center, cuts funding

The Youth Center hasn’t been open to the public until recently due to the pandemic, although it received $70,000 from the city at the beginning of 2020 to offer services.

Image courtesy the Enumclaw Drama Club
EHS drama students offer remote version of “Frankenstein”

Sign up now to catch a performance on Oct. 29, 30, or 31.

Courtesy image
Local nursing homes offer webinar on senior depression

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29.

Courtesy image
Sunday weather allowed for continued search for Rainier hiker

It’s been two weeks since Sam Dubal was reported missing.

The Enumclaw pool won’t be filled for several months more, as extra repairs need to be done first.  Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Cold water thrown on pool’s grand-reopening

Plans to open the pool early November have been scrapped as more repairs appear necessary.

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

©1998  EyeWire, Inc.
Flu vaccine now available for uninsured adults at no cost | DOH

Uninsured Plateau residents can get their shot in Kent of Renton.

Vote pin for american election

Most Read