Contact Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, WA 98304 (tel. 360/569-2211; www.nps.gov/mora). The park publishes a free newspaper, The Tahoma News, available at visitor centers with information about park activities.
When you arrive, stop at one of the park's four visitor centers. The year-round Longmire Museum (tel. 360/569-6575) is inside the park beyond the Nisqually Entrance and is the welcoming center for the park. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (tel. 360/569-6571), near Paradise Meadows, is the park's main visitor center, open year-round. The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center (tel. 360/569-6581), off Wash. 123 in the southeast corner of the park, is near the Stevens Canyon Entrance. It's open in summer only. The Sunrise Visitor Center, off Wash. 410, past the White River Entrance (tel. 360/663-2425), is in the northeast section of the park. It's also open in summer only.
Entry to the park for up to 7 days costs $15 per vehicle, $5 for individuals on foot, bike, or motorcycle. Camping costs $12 to $15 per night, depending on the campground and season.
Special Regulations & Warnings
The main thing to remember in the heavily visited spots in the subalpine portions of the park is to stay on the trails and stay off the wildflowers. Off-trail trampling erodes the thin loam topsoil that supports the fragile vegetation.
Be sure to boil any water taken from the park's rivers, as it has been known to carry Giardia, the little bug that causes mighty intestinal disorder.
Don't even think about heading for a day climb anywhere near the upper altitudes of Rainier without checking in at a ranger station or employing a guide. Steep snowfields can become slippery in the sun or contain unstable ice bridges. Remember, people die in the high altitudes every year.
Additionally, the National Park Service wants visitors to be aware of some other risks: Mud flows, glacial outburst floods, and falling rocks are hazards that may be encountered here.
The 2006 & 2009 Floods
A massive rainstorm on November 2006 dumped nearly 18 inches of rain in 36 hours on Mount Rainier National Park, turning every river into a raging torrent and burying trails and roads under landslides all over the park. Afterward, a violent windstorm uprooted trees, causing further damage. Much of Wash. 123 on the east side of the park and Carbon River Road in the northwest corner were damaged, as were numerous trails and backcountry bridges. Another flood in January 2009 destroyed sections of Stevens Canyon and Nisqually roads. Contact the park for current 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.