Following the 16-day US government shutdown, the furlough is over, and both Mt. Rainier and Olympic National parks have reopened. The timing couldn't be better, with the weather forecast calling for sunshine during the coming week. Here are details of the reopening.
Mt. Rainier National Park - Main access roads to the park have reopened and include:
- Nisqually Road to Paradise and Paradise Valley Road
- Stevens Canyon Road
- White River Road to the White River Campground
Sunrise and Mowich roads are closed for the season
The Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise is open on weekends and holidays and the Carbon River Ranger Station is also open. Mount Rainier Guest Services, the park concessioner, will provide food and lodging services inside the park and the Longmire General Store is open. Seasonal facility closures in effect include:
- Paradise Picnic Area
- Sunrise, Courgar Rock, Ohanapecosh and White River Campgrounds and picnic areas
- Paradise Inn
Check for specific facility and road condition information at the park's website. Services such as food and lodging are also available in the gateway communities outside the park, who serve more than one million visitors to Mount Rainier each year.
According to Mary Kay Nelson, executive director of Visit Rainier, autumn is a great time to visit the park with its fall colors and reduced crowds. She recommends morning hikes, mushrooming for Chanterelles and taking in the mountainside sunsets as just a few of the activities in the park. Click on for top hikes and other activities around the mountain, and the Mt. Rainier webcams.
With three ecosystems and almost a million acres, Olympic National Park has reopened to visitors. All park roads, trails and facilities normally scheduled to be open this time of year are up and running. The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open from 9-4 daily. The Hurricane Ridge Road, where sizable drifts had accumulated at some of the higher elevations, has been cleared and reopened. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and Snack Bar is staffed on weekends this time of year (winter season).
Also open are the parking areas along the Kalaloch coastal area, Kalaloch Lodge and Lake Crescent Lodge. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center and the Forks Recreation Information Center are open Friday-Sunday in October. Staircase, Elwha, Lake Crescent, Hoh, Mora, Ozette, Queets and Quinault are all open. Log Cabin Resort and Sold Duc Hot Springs Resort are closed for the season.
With more than 922,000 acres, Olympic National Park is an ideal destination for walks and day hikes (click on for a complete list). Pets are not allowed on park trails or beaches, except in these areas: Spruce Railroad Trail (Olympic Discovery Trail); Rialto Beach (1/2 mile north to Ellen Creek); Kalaloch beaches (from Ruby Beach to South Beach); and Peabody Creek Trail.