There’s a big change coming to Mount Raininer National Park in 2024. For the first time, Mount Rainier National Park will implement a timed entry permit system for peak hours during the summer of 2024.
As more and more National Parks head in this direction to keep control of visitors, Washington’s most visited National Park will do the same. With a 40% increase in visitors in the last 10 years, the park is trying to improve visitor experience (less wait times and time trying to find parking) and protect fragile areas.
Anyone who wishes to enter the park through the Nisqually, Stevens Canyon, and Sunrise/White River Entrance will be subject to having a reservation if it’s between the hours of 7am and 3pm.
“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,” said Superintendent Greg Dudgeon. “We are testing a system that will spread visitation out throughout the day and season to reduce crowding.”
What you need to know about the new timed entry permits
When can I book my permits?
Entry permits for the Paradise area through July 2024 will be available from February 21 through April 21. For Sunrise, they will begin on April 1.
August dates through Labor Day weekend will open up on May 1.
In addition to reservations available up to three months ahead, a block of reservations will be released each day through the summer at 7pm for the following day. This means you will be able to do last-minute trips. I assume weekends will be hard to get, but weekdays will be easier.
What are the dates for needing a permit?
You will need a permit to access the Paradise portion of Mount Rainier National Park from May 24 to September 2. This includes the Nisqually Entrance via Route 706 (Ashford) or Stevens Canyon Entrance via State Route 123.
The Sunrise Corridor, which includes White River via SR 410, will require permits from July 3 through September 2. The later date is due to this section usually not opening until late June/early July.
What time will you need a permit?
You will need a permit to enter Mount Rainier National Park’s most popular areas between 7am and 3pm.
I have a campground or hotel reservation. What does this mean?
You do not need a timed entry permit if you have a campground or hotel reservation inside the park. Show your reservation at the gate, and you can access the park.
What parts of Mt. Rainier do you NOT need a reservation permit?
You will not need a permit to access the Carbon River Entrance or the Mowich Lake portions of Mount Rainier. Additionally, you do not need one to visit Tipsoo Lake and the Naches Peak portion at Chinook Pass.
How much will the permits cost?
Each permit will cost $2 and will have a two-hour time window to enter. This means if you have a 10am reservation, you can enter between 10am and 12pm (noon).
You can learn more about it here.