Winter Camping Status
Update 4/15/21: Winter camping in the Paradise area is open; expected to close for the season May 15. Camping on snow is allowed almost anywhere in the park with a permit once snow depth is sufficient (typically starting in January). The Paradise area requires at least five feet of snow before camping is allowed. Mazama Ridge, Reflection Lakes, and other areas require at least two feet of snow.
Camping in the Backcountry
Backcountry wilderness permits are required year-round. If you plan to winter camp in the backcountry, permits are available the day of arrival at:
In selecting your campsite, choose a location that is a minimum of 300 feet from plowed roads and parking areas, marked routes, trails and buildings, and at least 100 feet from water.
Blue bags, for human waste, can be obtained from the ranger station or visitor center. Using blue bags keeps water clean, protects fragile vegetation from digging, and allows more people to use the area without leaving impacts. A blue bag barrel is available in the tunnel to the restrooms in the Paradise upper parking lot for disposal of used blue bags. Please dispose of bags properly.
To protect the park’s resources and visitor facilities, the following are prohibited:
Learn more about laws and policies.
Habituated Cascade foxes and other wildlife have been obtaining winter campers' food throughout the Paradise/Reflection Lakes/Tatoosh area. This has resulted in damage to camping equipment and increasingly persistent and aggressive wildlife behavior.
Parking for Winter Camping
Vehicles must be parked in the overnight parking areas at Paradise, Narada Falls, or Longmire. If designated areas are full, contact a park ranger. Parking outside these areas impedes snow removal operations. If possible, avoid setting your parking brake––it may freeze and become unable to release. The road between Longmire and Paradise closes nightly in winter and reopens once the road has been plowed. The road may close early or remain closed during the entire day due to poor road conditions or severe weather. It is unsafe to drive on roads and parking lots until morning snowplow operations are complete. Plows routinely operate on the wrong side of the road when it is closed. Radio 1610-AM will indicate when the road is open and safe for travel. Call 360-569-2211 or check @MountRainierNPS on Twitter (account not required to view) for information on road and weather conditions. Learn more about winter travel in the park.
Last updated: April 15, 2021