Wednesday, June 22, 2011
This post is present some recent changes and news about Mt. Rainier NP or access to the NP from the surrounding highways. Since the snowpack was unusually higher and the snowmelt unusually later than normal, snow is the biggest issue about the NP and getting there. So, the news.
First, the NPS begins the summer shuttle service from Ashford to Longmire and Paradise and various points in between. The parking at Paradise becomes crowded on Fridays and weekends so this helps alleviate the traffic. If you don't plan to get there early, especially on good weather days, then consider it as you might find yourself driving back down the hill from Paradise.
Second, the snow has delayed the opening of the White River campground to July 1st or later, and the opening of the road to Sunrise until after the July 4th weekend, now scheduled for July8th. The facilities at Sunrise are still scheduled to be opened after that but no date has been announced. In the past it's usually a week later than the road opening.
Third, highway 410 over Chinook Pass (Vancouver Columbian photo above) is scheduled to open Thursday June 23rd, if all goes well. The highway (410) from the northeast entrance over Cayuse Pass to highway 123 to the southeast (Ohanopecosh) entrance and the Stevens Canyon Road opened May 26th (Memorial Day weekend).
So this coming weekend all the major highways around and in the NP will be open. Only the Paradise Valley road and the road from the White River campground to Sunrise are still closed and likely to be so until early July. There's a lot of snow there this year and it will be around through July into August.
Lastly, you can get updates and news about the NP with the NPS Mt. Rainier NP Twitter account.