Monday, May 7, 2012
The May reports on the news, access, and monthly prospects for the Mt. Rainier photo guide. May is the transition month from winter to spring operations which continues through June to early July.
May is also the month snowmelt begins which normally begins around May 8-9th, and as of today (May 7th) we're still a few days away, which you can see the daily change for the NRCS SNOTEL site at Paradise, and compared with last year.
Through May the highways to and through Mt. Rainier NP will open, highway 123 & 410 over Cayuse Pass opens May 8th, and highway 410 over Chinook Pass and highway 706 (Stevens Canyon Road) opens May 25th. All the roads will still have snow above 3,000 early in the month clearing below 4,000 feet later in the month.
This means only the lower elevations trails will be snow-free. So, while you can find some trails without snow for some distance, you should still plan for snow. Otherwise, the rest is spelled out in the above links.