06/06/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/06/2020 10:04
Mount Rainier National Park reopened the Nisqually to Paradise Road in the park's southwestern corner late in the day on Friday June 5th, Superintendent Chip Jenkins announced today. This expansion provides public vehicle access to the Longmire National Historic District and to Paradise. Limited services will be available, including restrooms and trailheads throughout the corridor. In addition, 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. Visitor Centers, hotel lodging and developed campgrounds will remain closed until it is safe to reopen them. Recreation on the Upper Mountain above 10,500' elevation will open on June 19. Public access is expected to expand further during the summer based upon updated risk assessments and staffing availability.
'Throughout history, Americans have looked to their public lands for solace and recreation during times of crisis,' Jenkins said. 'We're pleased that we can now restore access to the popular Longmire and Paradise areas of Mount Rainier for people to be able to recreate responsibly.'
Open as of June 5
On the park's West Side
The road from the park's southwestern (Nisqually) Entrance near Ashford to Longmire and Paradise is open.
All trailheads along the entrance road that are normally accessible this time of year is open.
The Cougar Rock Picnic Area is open.
The National Park Inn's General Store in Longmire is open, for gifts and grab-and-go food service only (no lodging or dining access).
The road at the park's northwestern (Carbon River) entrance was damaged by winter storms. Visitors can park along the road outside the entrance and walk in. Use caution when passing road damage.
Westside Road is available for hiking and bicycling.
Stevens Canyon Road was damaged over the winter. Traffic safety mitigations are being installed for eventual public access. As a result:
The road is open on its west end from Paradise to the Snow Lake trailhead parking area.
The road is open on its east end from Highway 123 to the Grove of the Patriarchs Trailhead and restrooms.
On the park's East Side
Highways 123/410 across Cayuse Pass are open, as well as all trailheads along that route.
The White River Road is open as far as the White River Campground, with the campground open for trailhead access and day use only.
The Ohanapecosh Campground area is open for trailhead access and day use only.
All park trails are open. (See the park's website for trail conditions, as high elevation trails are still snow-covered.) Park with care in designated roadside parking areas.
Overnight, backcountry (non-campground) camping is available and requires a permit. Permits must be obtained online, at least 48 hours in advance. To plan a backcountry trip or to get a backcountry permit online, please visit the wilderness camping and hiking page.
Sunrise does not typically open until July, and is anticipated to open on schedule.
The National Park Service is working to gradually increase access and services across all units of the National Park Service, including at Mount Rainier National Park. We are restoring recreational access and services through a phased approach that aligns with guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local, state, and national opening plans. Due to COVID-19 related employee housing limitations and revenue reductions, the park is working with approximately half of its regular summer workforce. The health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers and partners remains our top priority. We are also working to ensure that our actions support local community public health objectives outside the park.
As our facilities reopen, please remember to recreate responsibly and work together to protect each other in the outdoors during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We appreciate your patience and your support of the National Parks.
Know before you go: Conditions may change without notice. Check the park's website (nps.gov/mora) for updates on the status of the place you want to visit. Have a 'Plan B' and 'Plan C' in mind in case your 'Plan A' has a full parking lot or your destination is closed. If you have flexibility, consider recreating on a weekday.
Plan ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack a lunch, and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and face masks.
Practice physical distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space.
Enjoy the outdoors when healthy: If you are feeling unwell, save your outdoor adventure for another day.
Take the path less travelled: Now is the time to avoid crowds at the most visited places, and find your adventure in new and lesser known places.
Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities and take your garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.
Be thoughtful about your potential impact on other people including local communities.