Mount Rainier has more than 400 campsites in three drive-in campgrounds. None of the campgrounds in the park have RV utility hookups, nor are there laundry or shower facilities.
You should definitely make reservations at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds between the last Friday in June and Labor Day; call tel. 877/444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov. Other campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Cougar Rock Campground, a little more than 2 1/4 miles northwest of Longmire, has an amphitheater for ranger programs. Ohanapecosh Campground, 11 miles north of Packwood, Washington, on Wash. 123, also has an amphitheater. White River Campground is 5 miles west of the White River Entrance. Sunshine Point Campground was closed in 2006 due to flood damage.
There are two walk-in campgrounds that often have spaces available, even on weekends. Mowich Lake Campground is in the northwest corner of the park, at the end of unpaved S.R. 165, and the sites are only 100 yards from a parking lot. A walk-in campground since the 2006 flooding, Ipsut Creek Camp Campground is about 5 miles east of the park's Carbon River Entrance. A backcountry permit is required. If you're prepared for a longer walk, consider the Sunrise Campground, about a mile from the Sunrise parking lot. A backcountry permit is required.
A permit is required for all overnight stays in the wilderness. Backcountry camping is free with a permit obtained at any of the ranger stations, although the first-come, first-served permits are grabbed up quickly. Reservations ($20 per permit) can be made by mail or fax beginning in mid-March for the period from May through September. For information, call tel. 360/569-6550.
Other camping options are in the nearby Gifford Pinchot National Forest. La Wis Wis Campground, in the national forest's Cowlitz Valley Ranger District, 10024 U.S. 12 (P.O. Box 670), Randle, WA (tel. 360/497-1100; www.fs.fed.us/r6), is along U.S. 12 and the Cowlitz River, near the southeast entrance to the park. The campground has numerous tall trees and offers some sites that can accommodate RVs up to 24 feet long. Reservations (tel. 877/444-6777; www.recreation.gov) are available.
Numerous other National Forest Service campgrounds lie along U.S. 12 east of White Pass and along Wash. 310 east of the park. These campgrounds represent your best chance of finding a campsite on a Friday or Saturday night in summer. The campgrounds along Wash. 410 tend to be less crowded, since they are harder to reach and are not near any fishing lakes. National Forest campgrounds are also within a few miles of the southwest and northeast entrances, and dispersed camping is permitted in some areas. Check the forest service website (www.fs.fed.us/r6) for more information.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.