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Mount Rainier joins the parade of National Parks requiring reservations: Here’s what you need to know

As part of the effort to combat overcrowding at U.S. national parks, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington will require advance reservations to visit starting this summer.

This timed entry reservation system will be required to enter parts of the park during certain times of day and year. Specifically, reservations are required to enter Paradise Corridor on the park’s south side from May 24-Sept. 2 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the Sunrise Corridor on the northeast side from July 4-Sept. 2 for the same eight-hour window.

Visitors can make reservations for July as of Monday, while reservations for August and September open at 8 a.m. PDT on May 1, 90 days ahead of the reservation block. All reservations are for an entry period of two hours and cost $2.

Note that timed entry reservations are not required for travelers with lodging reservations at the National Park Inn in Longmire, Paradise Inn or Cougar Rock Campground within the Paradise Corridor, who can use their reservation to enter the park after 1 p.m. in lieu of a timed entry reservation. Similarly, those with a first-come, first-served permit at White River Campground within the Sunrise Corridor can use this camping permit to gain access to the Sunrise Corridor, while visitors with Wilderness Permits or Special Use Permits can use those to gain access to the associated corridor specified by their permit.

Pedestrians and bikers are exempt from reservations. Timed entry reservations can only be booked at In addition to the timed entry, parkgoers must pay the park entrance fee.

screenshot of Mt. Rainier reservation system

“Each corridor requires a separate vehicle reservation,” the U.S. National Park Service noted online. “Timed entry reservations are for good a single day, per vehicle, and are required in addition to an entrance fee or park pass.”

The goal of these timed reservation systems used at parks around the country is to reduce wait times, congestion and thinning resources resulting from overcrowding, per the NPS. Mount Rainier National Park’s website cites a 40% increase in visitation over the last 10 years.

Mount Rainier, about 90 miles south of Seattle, is the latest park within the NPS to implement a pilot timed entry reservation system. As of April, between seven and 11 parks require timed entry reservations, including Arches, Acadia, Glacier, Yosemite, Haleakala, Zion, Shenandoah and Rocky Mountain national parks. Additionally, other parks require you to book select activities before arrival.

The NPS did not respond to a request for comment clarifying the number of parks that currently use timed entry systems. For the most up-to-date information, incuding entry protocols, we recommend bookmarking the NPS website.

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