Press Release Jan 17, 2024

Mount Rainier to welcome new pilot reservation system for 2024

“A tip of a flat hat to the park rangers for responding to the calls of those who love Mount Rainier and want to protect it while enjoying it.” - Rob Smith, NPCA's Northwest Regional Director

Seattle, WA - Responding to the challenges of overcrowding during peak summer months, the National Park Service today announced plans for a pilot reservation system for Mount Rainier National Park. Set to launch this summer, this pilot timed-entry system aims to improve visitors’ experiences and preserve the park’s natural and cultural resources.

“Here is another innovative yet practical move from the Park Service that shows dedication to protecting our parks for future generations,” said Rob Smith, Northwest Regional Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “A tip of a flat hat to the park rangers for responding to the calls of those who love Rainier and want to protect it while enjoying it.”

The decision was influenced by issues like traffic gridlock, long lines for services, trash buildup, trail crowding, and wildlife disturbance. Park advocates have expressed particular concern about the gradual loss of the park’s high-altitude wildflower meadows from social trails and roadside parking outside of designated areas.

“Whether it’s trampling wildflower meadows or circling to find a parking spot at Paradise or Sunrise, the experience at Mount Rainier is not always what it should be,” Smith continued. “Mount Rainier was the first national park to open to automobiles. Now, it’s time to take the next step to decrease congestion and reduce traffic so that everyone can enjoy a quality experience today and into the future.”

Visitors will make a reservation for entry between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at specific locations–Nisqually, Stevens Canyon and Sunrise entrance stations–during busy summer months, with each reservation allowing for a two-hour window for entry. This approach is designed to space out park entries and alleviate congestion during the park’s busiest times.

NPCA remains dedicated to preserving park resources for future generations and supports science-based measures like timed-entry to protect parks from the adverse effects of highly concentrated visitation, including habitat degradation and facility strain. At the same time, these adaptive systems can also improve park access by minimizing long lines to enter parks or, worse, the chances of gates being shuttered and visitors turned away.

As national parks like Arches, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain successfully implement reservation systems, ideally the Park Service will move toward a permanent system for Mount Rainier. The pilot reservation system at Mount Rainier National Park is a significant step toward preserving both the park’s integrity and the quality of visitor experiences.


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit