News Release

Paradise Sledding Area Reopens at Mount Rainier National Park

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Date: January 10, 2021
Contact: Mount Rainier Media Line, 360-569-6562

NOTE: This is an archived 2021 news release retained for park records. It does not reflect current information. 

With the accumulation of sufficient snowpack, sledding runs (referred to as the Snowplay Area) at Paradise have been groomed and are ready for park visitors. While beautiful, the greater Paradise area contains avalanche zones, unstable snow bridges and deceptively steep drop offs where sledding activities are unsafe. The official Snowplay Area is the safest and only location that sledding is permitted in Mount Rainier National Park.

Sledding (Snowplay) Area

  • Is clearly marked by poles and ropes, and is suitable for children

  • There is a small sledding hill just for small children

  • Only plastic and soft-sided sled devices may be used (no wooden or metal sleds permitted)

  • Snowshoeing and skiing are not permitted in the Snowplay Area

  • Visitors are responsible for maintaining public health guidelines. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visitors should recreate only with members of their household, wear a mask, and maintain social distance from other groups.

  • Pets are permitted only in the parking lot

The Snowplay Area is located above the upper parking lot at Paradise, near the visitor center and Paradise Inn. Drive to Paradise and park, walk to the upper lot if necessary, and continue up the snow ramp on the uphill side of the parking lot.

Visitors should review the following information to ensure their visit is safe and enjoyable.

Weather at Mount Rainier

Visitors should understand that weather and road conditions at Mount Rainier are likely to be very different compared to where they may be traveling from. While traveling up to Paradise, drivers will encounter unpredictable winter alpine weather and icy roads. Visitors should start their planning with a review of the Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast. This local forecast provides the most timely and accurate information for weather at various elevations and locations in the park. Visit the park’s website for general information on safe winter recreation.

Paradise and Longmire Winter 2021 Operations Guide




Paradise area
(5,400' elevation)

  • Restrooms
  • Parking lots
  • Self-guided snowshoeing, Nordic and backcountry skiing
  • Winter camping, with a permit
  • All vehicles (including 4WD) must carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices
  • View webcams to see what current conditions are like
  • Groomed sledding (snowplay) area is now open
  • Follow all public health guidelines related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • Buildings/warming stations.  Visitors must be prepared to use their vehicles as a warming area.
  • Ranger-guided snowshoe walks
  • Food/beverages/gifts
  • Leashed pets permitted in parking lots only and never on trails or snow. Service dogs allowed.
  • Drones not allowed
  • Water filling stations

Longmire area
(2,760' elevation)

  • Sledding not allowed in Longmire
  • Leashed pets permitted in parking lots only, and never on trails or snow. Service dogs allowed.
  • Drones not allowed
  • Camping prohibited in Longmire

Roads, Gates, and Public Access

Many park roads and developed areas are typically closed in winter. Staff plow from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise starting at 5:00 am daily, with priority given to roads and critical facilities in Longmire. Crews then clear the road between Longmire and Paradise, with a goal of opening the gate between Longmire and Paradise by 9:00 am. The actual opening time will vary. Each morning, a risk assessment matrix is used that considers current and projected weather, road and avalanche conditions, equipment status and available staffing. Unlike other roads and highways in the state, the road to Paradise is maintained without salt, with minimal sanding, and without blasting for avalanche control. In addition, the park’s small crew does not support a 24-hour operation. For safety, the gate to Paradise closes nightly, with uphill access ending at 4:00 pm to allow visitors to exit by 5:00 pm, when the gate is locked for the night. While staff understand that visitors are disappointed when the gate opens later than projected, public and staff safety is the highest priority. Please note that a clear parking lot at Paradise on the webcam doesn’t mean the road to Paradise is safe. All vehicles (including 4WD) must carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices inside the park.

Winter camping

Camping is allowed in many areas throughout the park in winter with a valid permit. Access to camping is dependent on road conditions and snow depth.

Paradise Day Use Zone Winter Camping (Paradise area, outside of Wilderness)

  • Snow camping allowed with a permit

  • Sites must be more than 300 feet from buildings, roads, established winter trails and the designated Snowplay Area

  • The maximum party size is 6 people (up to 12 people if from the same household)

Winter Camping, parkwide (outside of Paradise)

  • Camping is allowed with a permit when snow depth exceeds 2 feet depth at the site

  • Sites must be more than 200 feet from roads and at least 300 feet from lakes, streams and wetlands

  • The maximum party size is 6 people (up to 12 people if from the same household)

Backcountry travelers are encouraged to get updates on weather conditions, current and projected snowfall, and avalanche conditions before coming to the park. Backcountry travelers must heed warnings and come prepared to survive winter conditions.Vehicle access to other areas of the park is closed for the winter, but the following areas remain open for non-vehicle based primitive recreation, with no services available. Please note that temporary closures may become necessary due to changing conditions:

  • Carbon River Road

  • Mowich Lake Road

  • Paradise Valley Road

  • Ricksecker Point Road

  • SR123 (Cayuse Pass)

  • SR410 (Chinook Pass)

  • Stevens Canyon Road

  • Sunrise Road

  • Westside Road

  • White River Road 

Getting Current information

All changes are announced on the park’s Twitter feed. Always check @MountRainierNPS before you travel for the latest status. A Twitter account is not required to view announcements. We also remind our visitors to please follow the “Three Ws” and Wear a mask, Watch your distance, and Wash hands frequently.

Communities in the area provide great getaway experiences throughout the year. More information on the range of services available in and around the Mount Rainier area can be found on their websites:,,,,, and

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Last updated: April 18, 2023

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