Roads and Facilities Opening at Mount Rainier National Park
Road access to Mount Rainier National Park continues to improve following the long winter, with crews scheduled to open State Routes 123 and 410 over Cayuse Pass today. However, Route 410 over Chinook Pass remains closed by snow.
The route over Cayuse Pass has been closed since December 18. Washington State Department of Transportation crews have been finishing up spring snow removal operations and Mount Rainier staff is placing signs in preparation for the opening and the beginning of the 2009 visitor season.
As for Route 410 east over Chinook Pass, crews continue to remove snow from this section of the road and anticipate it will open by Memorial Day weekend.
Since 1974 the earliest date the SR 410/123 road has opened was March 18 during the 1980-81 winter. The latest date for opening was June 30, 2006 when the road remained closed for extensive storm damage repair.
Repair of storm damage on the Nisqually-Paradise Road at Glacier Hill (MP 12.3) is scheduled to begin mid to late June with anticipated completion by mid-August. The road will remain open to traffic, but 20 minute delays should be expected.
Storm damage repairs to the Stevens Canyon Road (MP 14.1) will also begin mid to late June with expected completion by mid-August. Due to the more extensive damage at this site, the Stevens Canyon Road will remain closed to through traffic until repair is completed. Park visitors coming from the west on Stevens Canyon Road will be able to access areas as far as Backbone Ridge Overlook (MP 13.1) and from the east to the Grove of the Patriarchs located approximately 0.2 miles from State Route 123 (MP 18). These sections of Stevens Canyon Road are scheduled to open by noon on Friday, May 22.
Visitors will not be able to travel between the east and west sides of the park through Stevens Canyon until this repair work is completed in mid-August.
The park is working in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, which will administer the contract to repair storm damages at Glacier Hill and Stevens Canyon. The damage occurred in early January 2009.
The Sunrise Road will open to the public by noon on Friday, June 26.
Mowich Lake Road is scheduled to open by noon on July 3.
The White River Road to the campground parking lot is tentatively scheduled to open May 20, however a great deal of snow remains in the area and opening may be delayed.
As for facilities in Mount Rainier, as of May 2 the new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise has been open daily (10 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. weekends). The visitor center offers information, exhibits, movies, book sales, food service and gifts.
The historic Paradise Inn is scheduled to reopen for the season at noon on May 15, providing lodging, dining and gifts. The National Park Inn at Longmire is open year-round, also offering lodging, dining and gifts. For reservations call Mount Rainier Guest Services at 360-569-2275.
Cougar Rock Campground is tentatively scheduled to open on Friday, May 22. Currently 3-4 feet of snow remains on the ground in the area and campsites are still snow-covered. Access will be limited.
At Ohanapecosh Campground Loops A, B and C only will open at noon on Friday, May 22 in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. Available sites will be limited.
White River Campground is scheduled to open at noon on Friday, June 26. The Sunrise Visitor Center and Sunrise Lodge will open for the season on July 3.