Mt. Rainier: Know Before You Go!

If you’ve recently come to Mt. Rainier National Park, you may be familiar with lines of cars longer than a centipede’s conga line, followed by tediously circling the parking lot for a spot. It’s not your imagination; according to the National Park Service, there has been nearly a 40% increase in park visitation over the last decade. In an effort to make your visit more enjoyable, the NPS is changing their reservation policies in the summer months. 

Don’t get caught unprepared on the mountain! Check out our FAQs below for more information on timed entry reservations and how they work. If you’re reading this after being turned away at an entrance, all is not lost; read on for recommended activities in the area!

Quick Chart: Timed Entry Reservations by Entrance


Access Road

Dates Reservations Required

Dates Reservations Released


Paradise Corridor

May 24, 2024-Sept. 2, 2024

Feb. 21, 2024

Stevens Canyon

Paradise Corridor

May 24, 2024-Sept. 2, 2024

Feb. 21, 2024

White River

Sunrise Corridor

July 3, 2024-Sept. 2, 2024

April 1, 2024

Carbon River

Carbon River Road

No reservations required



Mt. Rainier Timed Entry Reservation FAQs


What are timed entry reservations?

The National Park Service is opening a predetermined number of reservations, which can be reserved by time slot. Each time slot is a two-hour window. The reservation holder must arrive during this two-hour block. For example, if your timed entry reservation is 11 a.m.-1 p.m., you can arrive anytime during that two-hour window. Reservations do not include a required departure time. 


What does timed entry mean for visitors?

Most visitors will need a timed entry reservation to visit Mount Rainier National Park during the summer of 2024. This means in order to visit the park, you and your family will need to plan ahead, be willing to get up extra early, or consider alternate means of entry—via bicycle, or using camping or lodging reservations as your pass, for example. See more below: “Any circumstances in which a timed entry reservation is not required?”


What are the available timed entry windows?

There are approximately 300 reservations available for each 2-hour entry window. The windows are: 7-9 a.m., 9-11 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and 1-3 p.m.


What happens if I’m late to my timed entry reservation?

If you’re late, it might be time for plan B. Your reservation must be scanned at an entrance station within your 2-hour reservation time slot, otherwise it is canceled. You can’t exchange it for entry at another time, or even later the same day. 


How do I show my timed entry reservation?

Reservations are scanned at entrance stations. Though you can arrange for your reservation online, we recommend printing your reservation or saving a digital copy in your phone, such as taking a screenshot of your reservation. Cell service is notoriously nonexistent in the area, so odds are, you won’t be able to access your inbox.


What if I make a reservation for the wrong entrance?

Unfortunately, timed entry reservations are not transferable. If you show up at the wrong entrance, you will not be allowed entry. If this happens, you could try entering through a non-reservation entrance (see “Do any entrances not require reservations?” below), or try entering the park after 3 p.m. when reservations are no longer required.


How do I get timed entry reservations?

You can make your timed entry reservation at, or by calling 877-444-6777. 


When are reservations available?

Dates through July 2024 were released Feb. 21 for the Paradise Corridor, and will open April 1 for the Sunrise Corridor. Reservations for dates in August through Labor Day will be available starting May 1. 

In addition to these, blocks of reservations will be released every day at 7pm for use the following day throughout the summer.


How much do timed entry reservations cost?

Each timed entry reservation costs $2 but does not replace the standard park entrance fee of $30. A Mount Rainier or National Pass, such as America the Beautiful, also covers park entry fees.


How many cars are allowed per reservation?

Each reservation is for one personal vehicle. If you are a caravan with multiple vehicles, each one will require a separate reservation.


Which entries require reservations?

From the Paradise Corridor, both the Nisqually entrance and Stevens Canyon entrances require reservations. This includes access to Paradise, Cougar Rock, Reflection Lakes, Kautz Creek, Longmire, Comet, Christine and Narada Falls, Bench and Snow Lakes, and Box Canyon. 

From the Sunrise Corridor, the White River entrance requires reservations. This includes access to Sunrise, White River, Summerland, Glacier Basin, and Owyhigh Lakes.


When are reservations required?

Paradise Corridor Timed Entry Reservations (Nisqually and Stevens Canyon entrances) are required May 24, 2024, through Sept. 2, 2024, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Sunrise Corridor Timed Entry Reservations (White River entrance) are required July 3, 2024, through Sept. 2, 2024, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.


Do any entrances not require reservations?

While most entrances require reservations at certain times throughout the summer months, the following areas do not require reservations at all:

  • The Carbon River entrance, including the Carbon River Ranger Station

  • SR410 and SR123 on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park

  • Ohanapecosh, including the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center and Ohanapecosh Campground

  • Tipsoo Lake along SR410

  • Mowich Lake along SR165

Please keep in mind that these entrances—especially the Carbon River entrance—will likely experience increased traffic as a result of these changing requirements. 


Any circumstances in which a timed entry reservation is not required?

If you are using an entrance requiring timed entry reservations, you could be exempt for the following conditions:

  • You visit before May 24, 2024 or after Sept. 2, 2024

  • It’s before 7 a.m. or after 3 p.m.

  • You’re a holder of a wilderness permit, special use permit, research permit, or commercial use authorization

  • You have existing reservations for lodging at the Paradise Inn, National Park Inn, or camping at Cougar Rock or White River Campgrounds, you can enter anytime after 1 p.m. the first day of your reservation and throughout your stay 

  • You are on foot or riding a bike


Oops, I’m already here and didn’t make reservations. What can I do in the area that’s not inside the national park? 

We’re so glad you asked—this question is kind of our thing.

  1. Explore nearby towns.

There are a number of small communities near Mount Rainier, each with its own history, charm, and sights. Check out Wilkeson

  1. Find your great outdoors anyway.

Head to Buckley, where you’ll find ample hiking and biking trails in the forest, all within view of the mountain. Or head to Crystal Mountain to enjoy a gondola and vast fields of wildflowers. 

  1. Go chasing waterfalls and other car-friendly adventures.

Check out our 3-day Flowing Wonders itinerary for your guide to waterfalls and water views in the area, all accessible by car. Or make it a family affair with our Family Road Trip itinerary, featuring everything from BBQ to museums to beautiful city parks. 

  1. Eat like royalty.

If you’re hungry, boy do we have good news for you! The South Sound is home to incredible food. Some of our favorites in the area include Wilkinson’s The Carlson Block for possibly the best pizza in the state, the historic Carbonado Saloon for a classic tavern experience, Ashford’s Copper Creek Inn for the best blackberry pie of your life, or the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Co. in Elbe to eat inside an historic caboose. 

  1. Explore a slice of history.

Check out Wilkeson’s Melmont Ghost Town, explore Film History through the South Sound, use this one-day Living History itinerary as inspiration, or check out our Museum & Historic Sites page for even more ideas.

Still looking for inspiration? Check out our Itineraries. We have you covered for 1, 2, and 3-day adventures!


We hope you enjoy your visit to Mount Rainier National Park!