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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Mount Rainier July reservations for Sunrise, Paradise open Monday

By Vonnai Phair Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Reservations to visit the Sunrise and Paradise areas of Mount Rainier National Park this July open at 8 a.m. Monday.

Reservations, you say?

Yes – visitors to Mount Rainier this summer will need a reservation to enter certain parts of the park during peak hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the National Park Service.

The reservations are part of a pilot system to provide a better experience for visitors, who have been flocking to the park in increasing numbers every year, NPS said in a January news release.

From May 24 through Sept. 2 during peak hours, visitors will need a reservation to enter the Paradise Corridor from either the Nisqually Entrance via Highway 706 or Stevens Canyon Entrance via Highway 123.

From July 4 through Sept. 2, visitors will need a reservation to enter the Sunrise Corridor at the White River Entrance via Highway 410.

Reservations for dates through June for Paradise opened online Feb. 21.

Reservations can be made at or by calling 877-444-6777. Reservations do not replace the standard park entrance fee, which is $30 per vehicle.

Visitors do not need a reservation to enter the park outside peak hours. People with in-park lodging or camping reservations in one of these corridors will not need an additional timed-entry reservation, and can enter that corridor any time after 1 p.m. the first day of their reservation and throughout their stay, NPS said on its frequently asked questions page.

Other permit holders such as those coming for research can enter without reservations as stated in their permit or commercial use authorization. If you are on foot or a bike, you do not need a reservation.

Reservations are $2 and cover one vehicle. Each reservation provides a two-hour window during which you can enter, starting at the time you reserved for, and there is no mandatory departure time.

Reservations for August through Labor Day will open May 1. A block of reservations will also be released each day through the summer at 7 p.m. for the next day.

Mount Rainier is an increasingly popular outdoors destination, NPS said, with visitation rising from just over 1.1 million in 2013 to about 1.6 million in 2022. Most of those visits take place between July and September and are concentrated in a small number of areas within the park.

“In recent years, it’s been too common for visitors to sit in idling cars for a couple of hours at the entrance stations and then make laps through the parking lots hoping for an empty parking space,” Superintendent Greg Dudgeon said in the January release.

On busy days, visitors experience wait times of more than an hour to enter the park through the Nisqually and White River entrances, causing congestion inside and outside of the park.

Roadway congestion also occurs at popular trailheads within the park, which leads to parking in undesignated areas and pedestrian safety concerns due to limited roadway visibility.

The park received feedback from the public in 2020 and 2021, with the majority of comments related to traffic congestion, parking shortages and crowding – “and that is exactly what we are hoping to address with a timed-entry reservation system,” Dudgeon said.

The park also received public feedback in 2023 after proposing the draft plan for implementation this summer.

Whether you’re arriving early in the morning, late in the afternoon or have a reservation this summer, here are some tips and resources to monitor traffic at Mount Rainier:

• Buy an annual park or interagency pass in advance to minimize time spent at the entrance station. Entrance reservations are still required.

• Check the Mount RainierX account for updates on congestion and parking.

• Look at the Mount Rainier webcams by visiting to see how full parking lots are and road status for closures or delays on the day of your trip.

• Download the Mount Rainier National Park section on the National Park Service app to find alternative locations to park and restrooms.