Some news and notes for those planning visits to Mt. Rainier NP over the Labor Day weekend. I'm not persuading you not to go, please go and enjoy. I only want to let you know about some things you will encounter, beside the obvious beautiful Mt. Rainier, magnificant scenery and great weather. Like?
Ok, first, people. Outside of the other holiday weekends, it's often the busiest time and families get in one last quick, short visit before school takes over their lives. It's really the old adage there about going early if you plan to park and hike, or take the shuttle service from Ashford if you're just visiting Longmire and/or Paradise.
But if that's your goal but want to stop along the way, great, go for it, but likely as not you'll not find parking available at Paradise or along Paradise Valley road, and the NPS enforces parking restricts. And while driving, remember Washington's laws still apply, like cellphones, texting, etc. while driving. You're in the NP but it's still a highway. Besides the road is narrow and windy in places. Worry about getting to where you going, then stop and call or text.
Second, this weekend, the NPS is installing paw print signs and providing brochures with information to keep wildlife wild (PDF). Please don't feed the wildlife, even birds and squirrels. Don't leave food. Don't try to be cute and photograph them for food. Just leave them alone and photograph them as they are in the wild, or near it.
Third, if you plan hikes about the established trails at Paradise, namely the Panorama Point trail, to McClure Rock, or higher, like Camp Muir, please stop by the Mountain Guide Center for the latest information. There are rules now for hikes to Camp Muir (PDF) since the usual warming and the snowfield.
You can get the latest Tahoma Newspaper (PDF) with news and information (the one they hand out at the entrances). Not much after that, except enjoy, be courteous of other, only take home experiences and photos, and leave no trace (short for stay on the trails and don't litter).