Outdoors

Dwindling snowpack allows more access to Mount Rainier

As the low snowpack continues to melt, visitors have more access to parts of Mount Rainier National Park.

Superintendent Randy King said this winter’s low snowpack has made early access to some park areas possible.

The White River Road to the White River Campground is now open. This access is popular with climbers attempting early season summit climbs on the east side of the 14,411-foot mountain. The road opened May 23 last year.

The road from White River to Sunrise remains closed as snow removal operations continue and crews work to de-winterized the facilities at Sunrise for a scheduled June 5 opening. Most years, the Sunrise Road opens by the Fourth of July.

The Stevens Canyon Road, from the junction with the Nisqually to Paradise Road, also is open. There is no access beyond Snow Lake because of work to repair damage done by a large slide. On the east end of Stevens Canyon, the road is open to the Grove of the Patriarchs. King said the goal is to open the full road May 22.

The road to Ricksecker Point below Paradise also is open, while the Mowich Lake Road opening is scheduled for May 22.

The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, snack bar and gift shop have begun daily operations. The visitor center opens at 10:00 a.m.

UPCOMING FREE DAYS

Visitors to Washington State Parks will have three opportunities to visit for free this month and in June. Visitors will not need to display a Discover Pass for day-use visits to state parks Sunday (May 10), the designated springtime free day; June 6, in recognition of National Trails Day, and June 13 for National Get Outdoors Day

The Discover Pass is $30 for a year and $10 for a one-day permit. The pass is required for vehicle access to recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and state Department of Natural Resources. The legislation creating the pass allows State Parks to designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass is not required to visit state parks.

The pass is still required on Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources land on State Parks free days.

For information about the Discover Pass, go to discoverpass.wa.gov.

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