With Labor Day past us, time is running out to enjoy camping in some areas of Mount Rainier National Park. Already the Sunrise Visitor Center has been shuttered along with the Sunrise Lodge.
Even though sunny weather continues, park visitation decreases significantly after Labor Day. The new school year begins, park staff is reduced as seasonal employees return to school or move on to other jobs, temperatures begin to drop and facilities need to be prepared for the long winter months ahead before winter snows arrive. This includes winterizing water, sewer and heating systems and buildings in outlying park areas such as Sunrise, White River and Ohanapecosh, as well as removal of several hundred park signs throughout the park that would be damaged by the heavy winter snows.
With Sunrise at an elevation of 6,400’, it is the first area to begin the process. The lodge and visitor center in that area of Mount Rainier closed for the winter on Tuesday, though the vault toilets will continue to be available on a daily basis. Through September 30 the public restrooms near the lodge will be open on weekends only due to ongoing contract work during weekdays. No water will be available on weekdays.
Limited park staff will be in the Sunrise area on an intermittent basis and Mount Rainier Guest Services will have a limited selection of light snacks and beverages on weekends (weather permitting).
The Sunrise Road will remain open daily through October 12, then will change to weekends only (weather permitting) through October 25, when it will be closed for the season. Hiking and bicycling
will be allowed weekdays, but no facilities or services will be available. Due to the unpredictability of the weather at this time of year, visitors are advised to check with the park (360-569-2211) prior to a planned visit for current road conditions.
White River Campground will be remain open to camping through Sunday, October 4 (last camping night October 3). The White River Road will close for the season on November 4 and will be gated at the junction with SR 410 (Mather Wye). At Ohanapecosh, camping will be available through October 12 (last camping night October 11). The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center reduced its hours of operation to 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. beginning this past Tuesday, and will close for the season at noon on October 12.
On the west side of the park the following closure dates are confirmed:
The historic Paradise Inn will close for the season on October 5. The National Park Inn at Longmire remains open year-round for visitors and offers lodging, dining, and a gift shop. For information contact Mount Rainier Guest Services at 360-569-2400; for reservations - 360-569-2275.
The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center hours will be 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily through October 12, then weekends and holidays only from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. until the spring. The Longmire Museum is open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily until October 12. Beginning October 13 hours will be 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wilderness Information Centers at White River and Longmire will be open and staffed through October 12. After Labor Day, climbers can self-register for climbs at the Old Paradise Ranger Station or at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center desk.