Stevens Canyon Road in Mount Rainier National Park to be Rehabilitated through GAOA Funding

Two people in construction hard hats working on a stone support wall of a road running through a forest.
Two crewmembers work on a stone support structure

NPS / Zack Martin

Mount Rainier National Park, with funding from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), will repair and rehabilitate the final nine miles of the Stevens Canyon Road; building on two prior rehabilitation projects completed in 2017.Linking Nisqually-Paradise Road to Washington SR-123, Stevens Canyon Road serves as the sole east-west, cross-park access connecting the most popular “developed areas” of the park (Paradise and Sunrise). The road provides access to scenic day-use features and trailheads leading to the historically significant Wonderland Trail.

Project at a Glance: Building on two prior efforts in 2017, this $34.5 million project will complete a nine-mile rehabilitation of Stevens Canyon Road. The project will stabilize the roadway base, correct poor drainage, widen road shoulders, stabilize slopes, repair erosion, repave road surfaces, and repoint damaged sections of historic stone masonry features.

What are the Benefits: Stevens Canyon Road was originally designed to provide views of the mountain for visitors coming from the greater Puget Sound and Yakima areas while also providing access to scenic day-use features and various trailheads. This project will provide safe cross-park road conditions for emergency staff and over 1 million annual visitors. This project work will reduce the likelihood of future road closures, protecting the park and community from inconvenience and negative economic impacts.

Project Purpose and Goals

The Stevens Canyon Road corridor is vital to park operations, concessionaires, and visitor experience. Road deterioration is accelerating due to structural deficiencies. This project will improve critical park infrastructure by:

  • Correcting the structural and design deficiencies of the last portion of the Stevens Canyon Road

  • Protecting the only cross-park access to popular visitor attractions on both the east and west sides of the park

  • Preventing future failure of this roadway to avoid serious economic impacts to the park concessionaires and gateway community businesses,

  • Limiting emergency repair expenses

  • Extending the projected life span of the Stevens Canyon Road structure

  • Correcting poor drainage, surface slumps, pavement warping and cracking

  • Widening narrow shoulders

  • Placing reinforced rock retaining walls to stabilize failing road fill sections

  • Stabilizing very steep, unprotected side slopes adjacent to the road

  • Repairing and repointing CCC-era stone masonry guard walls, retaining walls, culvert headwalls, tunnel portals, bridge and viaduct parapet walls, and stone curbs to reflect its contribution to the park’s notable National Historic Landmark District

  • Removing and replacing deteriorated mortar to make joint repairs

  • Retrieving and resetting loose or fallen masonry units

  • Protecting emergency response

  • Reducing operational road maintenance costs

  • Improving the projected life span of the road for an estimated 20-30 years

Find more information about rehabilitation of the Stevens Canyon Road

A yellow construction vehicle sits upon a dirt road
A Stevens Canyon Road construction progress image.

NPS / Zack Martin

Current Status

The rehabilitation of Stevens Canyon began construction July 5, 2022 with a contract completion date of October 31, 2023.

Mount Rainier National Park

Last updated: September 7, 2022