Avoid Summer Congestion

Cars crowd a parking lot.
Parking lots at Sunrise (pictured) and Paradise can fill up quickly on busy summer days.

NPS Photo

The park is experiencing extremely high visitation that is creating long wait times at the Nisqually and White River entrances, and heavy road and parking lot congestion. On July 31, wait times to enter the park approached two hours in the early afternoon at the Nisqually Entrance, and exceeded one hour at the White River Entrance.

On weekends Paradise and Sunrise parking lots are rapidly filling. The upper and lower parking lots at Paradise fill by mid-morning. Overflow parking is available at Paradise, but may require a long uphill walk to access the visitor center, restrooms, and area trails. When the Sunrise parking area is filled to capacity vehicles are held at the White River Entrance and then slowly metered in as other vehicles depart.

August is the typically the busiest month for visitation in the park. Visitor use is expected to remain exceptionally high through mid-September.

 
A long line of cars parked alongside the road at Sunrise.
Sunrise parking area filled to capacity.

NPS Photo

Use these tips to have an enjoyable visit and avoid the worst of the congestion:

  • Visiting on weekdays, and arriving in early morning or late afternoon, can help avoid crowds, long entrance station lines and delays, and difficulty finding a place to park.
  • Have an alternate plan and destination in mind if long lines and waits are encountered entering the park. Experience the sights and activities of gateway communities during peak hours and weekends. USFS lands and the Crystal Mountain Resort provide nearby destination alternatives.
  • Using an annual park or interagency pass, or having the correct payment in cash, can minimize time spent at the entrance station and keep the line moving. Credit card transactions take more time to process and contribute to delays.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Phone:

(360) 569-2211
Callers to this general park line can choose from a menu that includes recorded information as well as opportunities to talk to a ranger at one of the park's administration or visitor centers. Rangers are only available to answer calls during business hours.

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